Article by Alan Sinyor, Director, International VAT Group, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. This article appeared in the August 2005 issue of Tax Adviser. In this, the final article in the series, Alan Sinyor concludes his overview of the benefits of approaching VAT in a contextual way rather than viewing it as a set of mechanistic and rigid rules.
In the first 2 articles, he summarised the conceptual underpinnings of the cotextual approach, starting with the central importance of acquiring a thorough understanding of the factual and commercial context of any given transaction. A rigorous fact management process is, he suggested, an invaluable tool to facilitate the collecting of facts in a systematic way. The next step is to place these facts into the appropriate legal frameworks. This process will in turn lead to the identification of specific issues that need to be analysed in more depth. As explained in the second article, in broad terms there are four separate, but interlocking, frameworks which may be relevant: contract law, UK VAT law, Community VAT law and the general principles of Community law. The previous article dealt with the first two frameworks, leaving this final article the task of summarising Community VAT law and the general principles of Community law.
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