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Pringles’ potato crisps ruling will cost makers £100M as VAT

London, May 21 (ANI): After a long legal row, a UK court has finally settled the argument over what category of snack Pringles fell into, ruling that the popular food items are nothing but potato crisps only.

But the decision passed by the Court of Appeal has actually landed the makers of the popular nibbles with a bill estimated to be around 100million pounds in unpaid VAT.

The legal battle is centred on the definition of potato-based snacks, which under British law are liable for Value Added Tax, unlike most other foods.

A previous tribunal ruled Pringles should be classed as crisps, but a High Court judge overturned that decision by saying that the snacks couldn’t be classified as crisps because they were only 42 per cent potato.

However, three Appeal Court judges have finally upheld the original ruling and gave a blow to makers Procter & Gamble UK, who will also have to fork out an estimated 20million pounds each year in VAT.

The firm had argued that the low potato content in Pringles, and general lack of “potatoness”, meant they should be exempt from VAT.

But Lord Justice Jacob described the test of potatoness as “elusive”, and said that the issue begged “an Aristotelian question: does the product have an essence of potato?”

“Moreover, I have no real idea what the suggested test means. It cannot be taste, partly because potato chips have lost all, or nearly all, of the natural taste of potato, even when some overpowering flavour such as cheese and onion has not been imposed,” the Daily Express quoted him as saying.

He also added that the essence of potatoness was “not capable of elaboration or complex analysis”.
Lord Justice Mummery said that a sensible interpretation of the words used in the VAT rules led to the conclusion they were made from potato.

The judges refused to pass on an appeal by Proctor and Gamble to the House of Lords.

And the firm may now directly approach the House of Lords to seek permission to appeal. (ANI)

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