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Highlights from the broader tax news for the week ending 7 September 2022, including: reopening of museum and galleries VAT refund scheme; claiming refunds for interest on customs debts; faster corporation tax repayments; and PIN activation letters.

Applications for VAT refund scheme for museums and galleries to reopen

Ordinarily, it is not possible to recover the VAT incurred on goods and services purchased to support non-business activities, such as museums and galleries offering free access. However, the government will reimburse this otherwise irrecoverable VAT if the museum or gallery is named in an order made by HM Treasury.

Applications to join the scheme (by being named in the treasury order) will reopen in the autumn. To be eligible to apply for admission to the scheme, museums or galleries must:

  • be open to the general public for at least 30 hours per week, without exception;
  • offer free entry, without prior appointment;
  • hold collections in a purpose-built building;
  • display details of free entry and opening hours on the museum website.

For more information on the conditions that must be met or how to apply: Museums and galleries urged to sign up for VAT refund to support free entry for the public - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Claim a refund for incorrectly charged interest on customs debts

Between July 2018 and April 2022, some businesses were incorrectly charged a £25 minimum interest amount for the late payment of customs duty. They may be able to claim a refund of the difference between the £25 minimum charge and the actual amount of interest that should have been applied.
In addition, between July 2018 and April 2022, HMRC used an incorrect interest rate to calculate late payment interest on customs debts. During this period, HMRC’s system calculated late payment interest at 0.5% more than the correct rate.
Businesses affected by either of these issues can find details about how to make a claim at: Correction for late payment interest on customs debt and £25 minimum charge - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Faster corporation tax repayments

From 5 September 2022, following a successful trial, HMRC will aim to respond to all progress chasing calls for corporation tax repayments within one working day, where the customer has waited more than eight weeks since submitting their claim. Corporation tax advisers will escalate these cases to a technical adviser in real time. Where a technical adviser is not available to respond in real time, the customer will be added to a list to be worked by a technical adviser within one working day.

This will particularly benefit companies with complex cases and those who are in receipt of a high value repayment, and will significantly reduce the number of times a taxpayer will have to contact HMRC to progress their corporation tax repayment claim.

PIN activation letters issued

The dispatch of letters that should have been issued to taxpayers who had requested a PIN activation code was delayed between 26 July and 18 August. HMRC has confirmed that this matter has been resolved and the PIN activation letters have now been issued.
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