Lovells wins tax battle for British Steel

Lovell White Durrant, acting on behalf of British Steel, has notched up a u40m victory against the tax man.

After a protracted legal battle dating back to the early 1990s the Appeal Court has ruled that Customs & Excise must pay back to British Steel u25m taken in oil excise duty.

The Lovells team thinks that, with interest, this will add up to a total payout of about u40m.

The court held that Customs was wrong to insist that for years British Steel should pay VAT on oil used in its blast furnaces.

Since 1994 Customs has, as an extra-statutory concession, dropped VAT charges on the oil used in the furnaces. However, it fought against having to pay back the tax claimed prior to 1994.

But last week, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Woolf, and Lords Justices Auld and Mummery overturned an earlier High Court ruling backing the VAT man.

The case for Lovells was handled by Roberta Downey and British Steel was represented in court by Charles Flint QC and Javan Herberg.