THE St Teresa's Hospice charity has clawed back more than £32,000 in VAT, with help from chartered accountant Clive Owen and Co.

The Darlington hospice is an independent VAT-registered charity, providing care and support for the terminally ill. It had been submitting returns reclaiming VAT, but only on costs directly associated with trading activities.

But when Barry Braim, associate at Clive Owen, carried out a review for the hospice, he found that extra amounts of VAT could be recovered.

The chartered accountant negotiated a method for St Teresa's with HM Customs and Excise which enabled the hospice to recover additional VAT, relating to its non-business provision of care for the terminally ill.

Using the method, an application for underclaimed VAT in the past three years was submitted, and the hospice has now received more than £32,000.

Mr Braim said: "I am particularly pleased that the hospice has received this unexpected additional income, given the use to which the money will be put."

Hospice director Jane Bradshaw said: "The money will go a long way to helping us continue to provide free specialist care."