HBAA clarifies TOMS working practices

From: Hotel Booking Agents Association
Published: Mon Mar 29 2010

The UK’s leading association for intermediaries dealing with meetings, events and accommodation bookings, the HBAA, has helped deliver a solution to working practices around the new Tour Operators’ Margin Scheme (‘TOMS’), which came in to practice on 1st January 2010.

Working with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the HBAA has been led by Deloitte’s and Saffrey Champness in seeking to establish definitive methodology and working practices around the new VAT legislation.

David Bennett, Travel Tax Partner at Saffery Champness, supported the HBAA throughout. Acting on a pro bono basis, David led the HBAA’s successful webinar on the topic and remained fully engaged with the association and its members.

Expotel had independently retained the expertise of Deloitte’s to advise them. As it became apparent to them that the hotel booking agency position was best articulated through the HBAA they suggested bringing together a working party to engage in dialogue with HMRC. BSI, who like Expotel, have significant volumes of bill back business were also supportive throughout the process.

Ian Burnley, CEO of Expotel, said: "This was one of those issues that we regard as non competitive. It was obvious that any outcome would apply to the whole industry, not any single company, making it wholly appropriate that we worked through the HBAA. BSI’s support ensured the combined voice of two of the industry’s leading businesses, adding weight and practical experience to the process."

Communication of the new TOMS working procedures are being cascaded throughout the HBAA, detailing the new working practices and responsibilities of agents, hotels and corporates who have engaged an agent.

Commenting on the methodology, Ian Burnley said: "The key point for our clients was to ensure we maintained their ability to reclaim VAT, which we have done. We also wanted to keep to a minimum the changes in processes required of our hotel and venue suppliers. I believe that the methodology that has been agreed delivers on those key points."

Peter Ducker, executive director of the HBAA, said: "While this has been a complex and intricate process stretched out over four months, I feel that the real story here is the way in which the working party came together to work with HMRC to deliver a solution. To me this reinforces the value that associations, and particularly the HBAA, deliver to the industries that they serve – to represent, speak for, coordinate and advise. I, like the rest of the HBAA, am indebted to Expotel, who funded most of the project, and to BSI for their unwavering work to ensure we receive a definitive set of procedures."

To coincide with the publication of the HMRC guideline document on hotel billback, the HBAA will be hosting a seminar on Tour Operators' Margin Scheme (TOMS), the Final Chapter, on Monday 12th April at The Royal College of Physicians. The event will be hosted by David Bennett of Saffery Champness, Chartered Accountants. To reserve a place visit http://www.hbaa.org.uk/EventDetails.aspx?eid=180
Company: Hotel Booking Agents Association
Contact Name: Paola Cubillos
Contact Email: paola@triggerfish.co.uk
Contact Phone: 020 7233 9700

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