Originally Posted by nikster
mmmmm not going to get into an argument here - but a fairly well known case involves a commercial invoice raised and VAT payment made for a vessel - which in turn was never paid to HMRC so being as the vessel was used commercially and the operator was trying to reclaim VAT on his purchases the 2 needed to marry up. Bottom line is the VAT was never paid on the boat, so they made the operator pay again as the vessel was in commercial use.
Perhaps not going to get into an argument because you don't really know what you're talking about? I don't know the case you're referring to, but the first, general principle of VAT law is that liability to account for tax lies with the supplier, not the purchaser (this is not the case where the transaction is not taxable because it involves export/removal of goods from one country to another). You may have heard about the 'carousel fraud' where HMRC have sought (unsuccessfully) to make innocent purchasers liable for VAT paid to a supplier from whom they purchased goods, which wasn't subsequently paid on to HMRC. Unless there are special circumstances (such as bad faith or complicity in deliberate evasion or fraud), the situation you described simply wouldn't happen. I'll eat my words if you can produce evidence to the contrary, but I'm not holding my breath.