In another one of those mystifying, but ultimately satisfying, decisions a First Tier Tribunal has ruled in favour of two Lanarkshire based confectionery firms in respect of the VAT classification of Snowballs.

Claims for a £2.8m VAT rebate had previously been rejected by HM Revenue & Customs who had insisted that Snowballs did not enjoy the same VAT exemption as tea cakes, classifying them as ‘standard rated confectionery’.

Now this is a tribunal at which I wouldn’t have objected to being a judge as they were presented with a plate of Jaffa Cakes, Bakewell tarts, tea cakes, meringues and Snowballs to assist them in arriving at their decision.

Apparently, according to one of the judges, all were tasted ‘in moderation’ and it was decided that a Snowball looks like a cake, it not out of place on a plate full of cakes and has the ‘mouth feel’ of a cake. The lady judge added ‘Most people would prefer to be sitting when eating a Snowball and possibly, or preferably……with a plate, a napkin or a piece of paper or even just a bare table so that pieces of coconut which fly off do not create a great deal of mess’. (Just tell that to your children –  )

So a windfall (surely snowfall) tax rebate is on its way.

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