Three Counties Dog Rescue in Bourne gets £61,000 VAT refund

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A DOG rescue charity says the £61,000 it won at a tribunal is a “drop in the ocean”.

Three Counties Dog Rescue, which is based in Spalding Road, Bourne, has been told it can have the money back, which it paid over four years between 2006 and 2010 in VAT payments.

It took its case to a one-day tribunal, which was held in December.

The charity is run by Gyll and Max Mauchline, who said they were pleased the tribunal had found in its favour.

It costs more than £100,000 a year to run the charity and relies heavily on fundraising. Max and Gyll said the charity regularly runs at a loss but this year would be able to “break even” thanks to the money.

Max said: “It is a weight off our shoulders for this year but we have been completely swamped with dogs over Christmas.

“The money will be extremely welcome and it means we can claim back the VAT in the future on things like kennelling and veterinary bills.”

The charity usually rehomes about 20 animals in a six-week period but during December and January, it has been asked to take 61 dogs, 12 cats and two rabbits.

The kennels are currently full to capacity with 60 dogs and they have been forced to set up a waiting list.

Gyll said there had also been a high number of animals requiring veterinary treatment including German shepherd puppy Ozzy, an 18-week-old dog who came to Three Counties with a broken foot.

The charity has also rescued a border collie dog called Blue and a black and white cat called Meg, which were found two weeks after their owner died at home.

Gyll said: “The money side is minimal when you look at how swamped we have been, which all just adds to the bills. We are stretched to our limit.”

HM Revenue and Customs had argued the charity was not eligible to claim the money back because it said to make a claim, you need to make a charge.

Three Counties had argued that it expected everyone who rehomed a dog to pay a £150 fee, which it had called a donation.

It admitted it was wrong to do that and has since rephrased donations to payments.

HM Revenue and Customs, which has the opportunity to appeal the decision, declined to comment.