Subhash Vrambhia has bought a nice new car. A Kia saloon since you’re wondering. He wanted to know whether there was any way he could claim back the considerable VAT that this purchase racked up. He reckons that, on the basis that he and his wife Rama get very little time off for joy rides anyway, the car will be used 75% of the time for business (Snutch Newsagents, Leicestershire). His accountant, though, had already said he couldn’t claim it back (I suspect Subhash thought he wasn’t being creative enough).

Subhash was taking the view that if Google and Starbucks can get round all that tax guff then

But the accountant was right. HMRC says you can only reclaim the VAT on a car if you can show it is being used exclusively for business and is not available to anyone for any private use.

If you lease a car, however, you can normally claim back 50% off the VAT. So, I asked, did you lease or buy - how did you acquire the car?

“I paid cash,” said Subhash, and he laughed his head off at my spluttered reaction. Cash, did you say cash? Like in piles of pound notes? (And I wonder what his accountant thinks about that!)

“Yes, cash,” he confirmed and, he maintains, “I’m boosting the economy by spending cash on a new car.”

He thinks a tax break is in order. Anyone know of a more creative approach? Well, just thought I’d ask.