Freemasons loses VAT exemption High Court battle


Freemasons have lost a VAT fight with the taxman.

A tribunal had ruled that the aims of the United Grand Lodge of England, which administers lodges of freemasons, were not of a "philosophical, philanthropic or civic" - or "religious" nature for the purposes of VAT exemption.

Now a High Court judge has dismissed an appeal by the United Grand Lodge.

Mrs Justice Asplin's decision was published following a hearing in London.

HM Revenue and Customs commissioners had initially decided that the aim of freemasons were not philosophical, philanthropic or civic for VAT purposes, said the judge.

The United Grand Lodge had challenged that decision.

A tax tribunal had dismissed the challenge last year.

The United Grand Lodge had then taken the case to an appeal tribunal - presided over by Mrs Justice Asplin.