Hall or annex?

Litton & Thorner’s Community Hall. A First-Tier decision on whether building work amounted to an annex which qualified for zero-rating under Notes (16) and (17) to Group 5, Schedule 8 to the VAT Act and/or whether the work could be zero-rated on the basis that it was completion of the previously constructed village hall.

Briefly, a ‘lean to’ was built to act as a storage facility for the village hall, as the pre-existing storage was inadequate and inconvenient to use. The lean to had both internal and external access through two sets of double doors.

Highlights of the decision:

  1. The lean to qualified as an annex. It was capable of independent operation and this was not undermined by the internal access nor because it was only used as storage for the village hall. 
  2. If that failed, it should be viewed as the completion of the building despite the passage of time and the lack of planning permission for the lean to when the village hall was built.

Although this is great news for the charity concerned, I am surprised by this decision, as it contradicts a number of previous authorities.

I think it’s a great lesson in not giving up, because you might find a sympathetic judge.