Spot the VAT!
The World’s oldest football gaming company Sportech, owner of the Football Pools, has recently won its four year dispute with HMRC over claims that it was incorrectly charged VAT on a game called Spot the Ball from 1979 to 1996.
UK based Sportech says it expects to be paid around £80m by HMRC (around 50% of its current net worth) after winning its claim in the First-tier Tribunal’s Tax Chamber.
Sportech’s view was that it was incorrectly charged VAT on Spot the Ball claiming it is a game of chance and not a game of skill. Games of chance are exempt from VAT.
This is not what we were led to believe at the time mind where punters (three million a week in its heyday) were invited to use their ‘skill and judgement’ to place the ball in the football action picture, the final position of which is decided by a panel of ‘experts’.
The Sun newspaper recently quoted an ‘insider’ as saying “As far as I know they just stick a pin in it.”
HMRC have until the end of April to appeal the ruling.
If Sportech are eventually paid out will they consider themselves lucky or skilful I wonder?