A recent court case could open up VAT refunds for operators who help time-share exchanges for properties located outside the UK.
The case, involving RCI Europe, saw the tax judges decide that, as facilitators of a timer-share exchange agreement, VAT should be paid by RCI based on the location of the owner's property, not the location of operator RCI.
For properties outside the EU the exchange service is not liable for VAT. If within the EU then local VAT rates, based on the property's location, apply.
"This decision could mean a VAT refund worth thousands of pounds for the growing number of UK businesses which facilitate time-share exchanges. It could also be good news for organisations which offer fractional ownership on a portfolio of properties," Hannah Dobson, VAT director at Smith & Williamson, accountants and financial services group.
"Although this is a good news story for many UK businesses, those who deal with property across the EU will have to get up to speed with differing rates of VAT applied by different countries."