The defendant costs specialists

VAT on medical reports and medical records

By on Jan 28, 2011 | 5 comments

Judgment was recently handed down in an important decision concerning the correct treatment of VAT for medical records and medical reports.

In Barratt Goff & Tomlinson v HMRC (see judgment) it was held where medical reports or medical records were obtained by solicitors, for the purpose of personal injury claims, the solicitors did not need to charge VAT on the fee as they were to be treated as being disbursements, as opposed to being part of the legal services being provided.

Although the impact of this decision is less than it might have been as most medical reports already have VAT added by the medical expert, for the small number of cases where the medical expert is not VAT registered or for the large number of cases where the medical records are obtained direct from the holder of the records, VAT does not need to be added by the solicitor.  A decision in the other direction would have added significant costs for defendants. 

Law Society Gazette article: here.

(A different conclusion had been reached on this issue in Makuwatsine v Trathens Travel Services Limited.)


  1. OK, so, the obvious stupid question is which is authoritative; County Court Judge or First Tier Tribunal Judge? I beleive them to be of equal senority.

    My argument would be to rely on the Tribunal as the CC decision was based on an understanding of the Vat treatment which is now found to be wrong but a shame the Makuwatsine case was not mentioned.

    Nick Hanning

    29th January 2011

  2. Isn’t the point that because HMRC were parties to the tribunal case, it is binding on them unless they appeal? And if there is a decision binding on the Revenue, solicitors can hardly assert that they are liable to pay VAT which the Revenue are not entitled to collect, regardless of what a non-specialist circuit judge might have said in another case.

    Jacques Hughes

    29th January 2011

  3. What is the date of the tribunal when this ruling was made?

    Will there be any retrospective effect?


    4th February 2011

  4. The judgment was handed down on 20/1/11. A link to the judgment is contained within the post above. The ruling simply confirms what the law always was (as the judge understood it to be). It may/should alter how HMRC approach this issue but it does not “change” what the law always was.

    Simon Gibbs

    4th February 2011

  5. Most of the reporting on this case is miss-leading and is already being miss-interpreted. Three medical experts who provide medical reports for us have written to me over the last week referring to the case and confirming they will not be charging VAT on new invoices and will be re-issuing all o/s invoices without VAT on them, in my view they should continue to charge VAT. I wrote to HMRC for clarification and have received confirmation in writing that they will not be appealing the tribunal and that in their view VAT should be charged by solicitors on Medical reports/records unless the circumstances exactly match those of the tribunal and where all the 7 qualifying criteria have been met. My concern is how insurers interpret the case and I expect some will now refuse to pay any VAT on Medico-legal report fees.

    Simon Munro

    5th February 2011

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