In Lunar Missions Ltd v HMRC  UKUT 0298 (TCC), crowdfunding with the offer of a reward to those who made pledges, triggered VAT registration: there was a supply for VAT purposes.
- Lunar Mission Limited raised £672,447 for a Moon mission via the Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.
- A supporter who pledged funds to finance the project was offered rewards in the form of digital and/or physical space in a capsule.
- HMRC decided that Lunar made a supply to its supporters at the time at which the pledges made by supporters became unconditional and Lunar received payment.
The FTT dismissed Lunar’s appeal on the grounds that the rights offered to supporters constituted “single purpose voucher (SPVs)” within paragraph 7A of Schedule 10A to the Value Added Tax Act 1994 (“VATA”) and that a supply was made to Lunar’s supporters when the vouchers were issued.
Lunar appealed to the Upper Tribunal (UT)
The UT confirmed that:
- Crowdfunding involved a supply of services when a legal relationship was created between service provider and recipient for which there is reciprocal performance. Lunar agreed to provide rights in the form of rewards in return for funds.
- When Lunar issued the vouchers to the supporters, it must be regarded as having provided them with all the information necessary to obtain the supply of the service. It provided the supporter who made the pledge, the only person with whom there was the requisite degree of reciprocal performance, with the wherewithal to obtain the digital or physical space on the capsule. At that point, it made the supply.
The appeal was dismissed.
This decision is based on the old rules for SPVs. The EU Vouchers Directive only took effect in relation to vouchers issued in the UK on or after 1 January 2019 and this widens the definition of an SPV, see Discounts, rewards and vouchers.
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