Owain Thomas QC successfully appeared for the UK in the long running Case C-77/19 Kaplan International Colleges UK Ltd v HMRC involving the application of the exemption from VAT for costs sharing groups.
This is one of the last references from a UK Court to the CJEU and the judgment has been handed down a few weeks before the end of the Brexit transition period. The Court has clarified the relationship between the provisions on VAT grouping and those which set out the costs sharing exemption. In this case, it upheld a submission by the UK that it was not available where not all members of the VAT group were members of the costs sharing group. It had been widely expected to rule also on the issue of whether the costs sharing exemption applied to groups established outside the EU. The Adovcate General Kokott again took the view that this was not possible, in line with the position of the UK. However the judgment did not address this issue on the basis that it was unnecessary to do so.