Tax analysis: The First-tier Tax Tribunal (FTT) has found that fees paid by a law firm for electronic property searches were incorrectly charged to the client as disbursements for VAT purposes and should instead have been charged as part of the firm’s taxable supplies. There was no suggestion of dishonesty or misconduct, avoidance or evasion and the firm had been following conventional practice. Despite this and submissions from the Law Society, and despite any potential wider impact of his decision on the legal profession (which the judge noted he was bound to disregard), the FTT decided that electronic search fees should not have been treated as disbursements for VAT purposes. The decision is of direct relevance to historical periods only, since the VAT position regarding local authority searches has changed since 1 January 2017. It may clearly, however, have an impact on a large number of firms that have been following conventional conveyancing practice.