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VAT windfall for drinks firms that provide goods for gift hampers could be on the way
Published on 04/10/2010

Wine and beer retailers who use samples to promote their products and increase sales look set to receive a VAT windfall.

Sian Beusch, technical associate director at business advice firm and auditor Tilly Baker, said companies who utilise such items will have been given an early Christmas present thanks to the recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling, Harpers Wine and Spirit reports.

Under UK rules if identical samples are given to members of the public just the first one is VAT-free, but the ECJ noted all testers should be exempt from the levy as long as the specimens promote sales, she added.

Ms Beusch remarked: "In light of this judgement the opportunity to recover VAT paid to HM Revenue & Customs on samples over the last four years has been confirmed and taxpayers distributing large volumes of samples should begin preparation of their claims immediately."

Last week, bosses at Grants whisky - which is often found in luxury gift hampers - revealed the spirit will be featured in a new TV advertising campaign.

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