Supermarket victory saves 15,000 ATMS
Katie Morley Hole-in-the-wall cash machines were handed a rare victory yesterday as supermarkets won a legal battle to end a tax which was threatening the closure of 15,000 ATMS.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, the Co-operative and cash machine operator Cardtronics Europe won an Appeal Court case in which they argued against some retailers being taxed around £3,000 a year to host cashpoints.
Shops with cash machines have had to pay higher business rates since 2013, when the Government’s Valuation Office Agency department said they would be subject to separate rates.
The decision was backdated to 2010, and retailers were faced with large bills from their local councils.
Supermarkets argued that these machines are not part of their shops and so should not be included in rates calculations.
A spokesman at retail analyst firm Altus said smaller shops had been the worst hit by the bills, which had threatened to close some ATMS.
He said: “The big supermarkets have quite deep pockets but the small retailers, your average newsagents, they have been shafted, so to speak.”
The Appeal Court today backed the supermarkets and said the machines will no longer be subject to the extra taxes.
The Appeal Court judgment by Lord Justice Lindblom said: “I would allow the appeals of Sainsbury, Tesco, the Co-op and Cardtronics, and dismiss that of the Valuation Officers.” The decision was backed by fellow judges Lady Justice King and Dame Elizabeth Gloster.
It comes after a study by Which? found cash machines have been disappearing at a rate of 300 a month, with rural areas hardest hit.
The rate of closures increased sixfold in the period from November 2017 to April this year from a steady pace of 50 per month since 2015, it found.