Every so often a case comes through the tribunals that brightens up the days of the judges, and of course us when we read the findings. Something a bit different than the classic situation of the presentation of an excuse as to why tax wasn’t paid on time (or paid at all).
We all know about the Jaffa Cake case that hinged on whether a Jaffa Cake was a cake or a biscuit for VAT purposes (it’s obviously a cake), and the Subway saga on whether VAT should be charged on their Meatball Marinara sub (we don’t have an opinion on that one). But this next one is really splitting hairs.
A crowdfunding operation has proposed to land a module on the Moon and drill the lunar surface to collect samples for research purposes. In addition to this, they will leave behind a digital archive of mankind and for specific investors, a single strand of their hair.
The issue for the First Tier Tribunal centred on whether the income was advance consideration for taxable services or consideration for single purpose vouchers. Either way they should have registered for VAT on receipt. They also spent a time considering whether digital space and (physical) space for a hair were the same thing. Thankfully they came to a decision…they are.