Theatre in VAT cash boost

PUBLISHED: 15:24 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 11:42 12 August 2010

A THEATRE has won £200,000 after taking the VAT man to court.

A THEATRE has won £200,000 after taking the VAT man to court.

Greenwich Theatre, in Crooms Hill, won a High Court case against HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to recoup VAT paid on production costs on visiting shows.

Greenwich Theatre executive director James Haddrell said: "I am obviously delighted. We were right and we knew we were right all along.

"We thought 'we are going to have you one day' and we have had them.

"We invested a lot of time and resources into pursuing the case, so if we lost it would have been quite disappointing.

"In 1996, the EU ruled that theatres are charities. Non-profit should not have to pay VAT on tickets income as VAT is all about luxury.

"It is absolutely brilliant there is a law that says this, but we started the case 13 years ago, before the law was invented, so we can claim back to 1990.

"We still have to pay VAT on shows which we make ourselves, such as the pantomime.

"It is pathologically stupid and irrational. We are well on the way to winning that one."

The money will be used to fill a funding gap after Greenwich council cut the theatre's grant by 9.3 per cent.

Mr Haddrell added: "The council is cutting culture to make culture. It doesn't make sense."

Now, the theatre is in personal negotiation with a HMRC officer fighting to get back the estimated £75,000 compounded interest.

HMRC were unavailable for comment.

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