D – Day Looms For Uber Over VAT

As we all know after the High Court ruled back in December that in order to operate lawfully under the 1998 PHV Act, an Operator accepting a private hire booking is required to enter into a contractual obligation with the passenger to provide the journey. An Operator IS the transport provider.

Subsequently, TFL issued a TPH notice 22/21 on the 20th December. The notice states that

“PHV Operators should not wait to be contacted before satisfying themselves that they are acting within the Regulatory regime and be prepared to demonstrate this compliance to TFL, upon request, at any time………..AT ANY TIME!

Many of London’s largest PH companies still state the T&C`s as the driver being the transport provider.

Why are TFL, the Regulator allowing this to happen?

Recently Jamie Heywood, Uber`s Regional Manager announced that drivers terms will change on 14 / 03 / 2022 at 23.59. These changes will require a driver to contract with Uber and not passengers. It is safe to assume therefore passenger terms and conditions will also now change.

These changes do indeed reflect December`s High Court ruling where the PH Operator enters into a contractual obligation with a passenger to provide a vehicle, as Principal.

As a consequence, as highlighted in HMRC VAT notice, 700 / 25 would possibly require such Operators to have a VAT collection obligation, currently 20%

It now remains to be seen if Uber indeed complies with this obligation or whether TFL will consider their fitness and propriety if they don’t, we shall have to see.

There is talk on the wires that ALL the PH companies will maybe argue that if they DO NOT pay the VAT then this would be a matter between them and HMRC and not TFL?

But one must ask, if the decision made in the High Court is blatantly ignored and PH Operators refuse to pay then surely how can they still be “fit and proper” by ignoring the law of the land……we shall have to wait and see.

Grant Davis

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