We do love a bit of VAT madness here at accountingcpd, but it looks like the recent tribunal involving the EAT restaurant chain was pretty clear cut from the start.
EAT tried to argue that their grilled ciabatta rolls and baked breakfast muffins were cold foods when sold on a takeaway basis and therefore should not be subject to VAT. They maintained that the heating process was to achieve 'fresh' food not 'hot' food and the fact that it was 'hot' was incidental.
Unsurprisingly the Judge was having none of it and called it a 'hopeless appeal', noting that both products were served above the ambient air temperature and had packaging with the words 'Eat' and 'Hot' on it.
Did EAT really think they would get away with such a flimsy argument? We can only speculate but with £1.2m of backdated VAT at stake, covering the period 2005 to 2009, one can only imagine they thought it worth a try!