Latest by Constantine Christofi

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Quarterly Contentious Tax Review

Published on 13 October 2021. By Robert Waterson, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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The Tax Law Review Committee (TLRC) has published an in-depth review of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT), how it operates and why. In some respects, it is not working as well as it could for certain users. The review makes a number of positive recommendations, which we discuss below, together with two important developments concerning (1) the requirement for HMRC to initiate a formal enquiry and (2) HMRC's strategy on settling disputes relating to the use of historic tax avoidance arrangements.

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Tooth and claw?: The meaning of words in tax assessments

Published on 05 October 2021. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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The concept of 'staleness' in the context of discovery assessments (assessments issued to taxpayers by HMRC outside of any statutory enquiry), gathered momentum following the Upper Tribunal’s decision in Charlton and others v HMRC [2011] UKFTT 467 (TC). As 'discovery' is only relevant to returns and tax years where HMRC has not opened a statutory enquiry, many commentators considered that the concept provided a degree of procedural fairness in the discovery assessment process, and that HMRC should not be permitted to delay issuing an assessment for a considerable period of time after making a discovery. As recently as February of this year, Judge Malek in the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) in Mehrban v HMRC [2021] UKFTT 53 (TC), noted that it was an “absurdity” to say that the concept of staleness does not exist.

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DNAe Group Holdings – Higher R&D relief claims available

Published on 29 September 2021. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In DNAe Group Holdings Ltd v HMRC [2021] TC/201804348, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) held that 125% research and development (R&D) tax credits for an SME was available, despite the company being the strategic investment vehicle of a larger group.

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Eclipse film partnerships settlement opportunity announced by HMRC

Published on 08 September 2021. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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HMRC announced on 6 September 2021 a settlement opportunity for current and former members of the Eclipse Film Partners (numbers 1 to 40) limited liability partnerships (the Eclipse LLPs), under which HMRC will agree not to seek to impose a 'dry tax' charge in exchange for members settling historic tax liabilities (with interest) and abandoning litigation against HMRC in relation to the Eclipse LLPs. If accepted by each taxpayer, approximately £1.6 billion of 'dry tax' will not be pursued by HMRC.

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Tax Bites - September 2021

Published on 02 September 2021. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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Welcome to the latest edition of RPC's Tax Bites - providing monthly bite-sized updates from the tax world.

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Contentious tax quarterly review 

Published on 25 August 2021. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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We consider the Supreme Court's decision in Tooth, concerning discovery assessments; and examine the contentious issue of when a taxpayer can rely upon a PAYE credit. We also review the increased focus by HMRC on cryptoassets and the challenges that might create for taxpayers.

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Kelly – Tax tribunal confirms re-discovery not permissible for the purposes of section 29 TMA

Published on 10 August 2021. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Sean Kelly v HMRC [2021] UKFTT 162, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) confirmed the principle that a discovery can only be made once and HMRC cannot raise a new discovery assessment under section 29,Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA), in respect of the same discovery.

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Golamreza – HMRC assessments and the burden of proof

Published on 14 July 2021. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Golamreza Qolaminejite (aka A Cooper) v HMRC [2021] UKUT 118 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) allowed the taxpayer's appeal in part on the basis that the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) had erred in law in failing to take all of the taxpayer's case into account in arriving at its decision.

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Tax Bites - July 2021

Published on 01 July 2021. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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Welcome to the latest edition of RPC's Tax Bites - providing monthly bite-sized updates from the tax world.

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Rediscovering ADR

Published on 23 June 2021. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), in the form of mediation, remains an important part of the tax dispute resolution process. In light of the backlog of cases caused by Covid-19, and the practice statement issued by the Tribunal last year, we expect that taxpayers and HMRC will begin to re-examine and embrace ADR which can be an effective method of resolving disputes with HMRC.

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Hargreaves - Burden of proof on HMRC in taxpayer information notice appeals

Published on 09 June 2021. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Hargreaves and others v HMRC [2021] UKFTT 80 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) confirmed that the burden of proof in an appeal against an information notice issued under paragraph 1, Schedule 36, Finance Act 2008 (FA 2008), is on HMRC.

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Tax Bites - June 2021

Published on 03 June 2021. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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Welcome to the latest edition of RPC's Tax Bites - providing monthly bite-sized updates from the tax world.

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Mehrban – Discovery assessments invalid due to staleness

Published on 12 May 2021. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Kashif Mehrban v HMRC [2021] UKFTT 53 (TC) the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) held that a three-year delay in issuing a 'discovery' assessment issued pursuant to section 29,Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA), resulted in the discovery becoming 'stale', even though the delay had not been the result of HMRC inaction.

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Tax Bites - May 2021

Published on 07 May 2021. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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Welcome to the latest edition of RPC's Tax Bites - providing monthly bite-sized updates from the tax world.

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Contentious tax quarterly review

Published on 30 April 2021. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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Rise in alternative dispute resolution Until relatively recently, HMRC imposed strict conditions on the timing of when an application for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) could be made, refusing to consider any application which was made after it had formally set out its position in its ‘statement of case’.

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Outram – Tribunal prevents HMRC from relying on new argument

Published on 14 April 2021. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Outram and another v HMRC [2021] UKFTT 29 (TC) the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) prevented HMRC from relying on a new argument contained in its skeleton argument which had not been included in its statement of case.

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Atholl House Productions: BBC Presenter wins IR35 case

Published on 17 March 2021. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In HMRC v Atholl House Productions Ltd [2021] UKUT 0037 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) held that IR35 did not apply to a presenter who provided services to the BBC through a personal service company.

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Embiricos: HMRC cannot issue a partial closure notice without specifying the amount of tax due

Published on 17 February 2021. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In HMRC v Embiricos [2020] UKUT 370 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT),in allowing HMRC's appeal, has held that HMRC cannot issue a partial closure notice without specifying how much tax is due.

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Project Blue (No 2): HMRC must refund overpaid SDLT

Published on 20 January 2021. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Project Blue Ltd v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 475 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) held that the taxpayer was entitled to repayment of SDLT, as part of the consideration for the property in question was contingent, within the meaning of section 51, Finance Act 2003 (FA 2003) and was never paid.

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McCabe: HMRC not required to disclose documents relating to discussions with the Belgian tax authority

Published on 16 December 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Kevin McCabe v HMRC [2020] UKUT 266 (TC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) has held that the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) had been correct not to order HMRC to disclose documents relating to discussions it had with the Belgian tax authority, as the documents had no probative value and the tax authorities had raised confidentiality issues.

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RT Rate: Legitimate expectation rights not engaged

Published on 09 December 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In RT Rate Ltd and Others v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 392 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has held that it does not have jurisdiction to consider claims for repayment of VAT based on the EU law principle of legitimate expectation.

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Cheshire Centre – HMRC ordered to pay taxpayer's costs due to its unreasonable behaviour

Published on 18 November 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In HMRC v Cheshire Centre for Independent Living [2020] UKUT 275 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) ordered HMRC to pay the taxpayer's costs even though HMRC had been successful as it had acted unreasonably in introducing a new ground of appeal.

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Jurisdiction and the Rule of Law

Published on 04 November 2020. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Robert Waterson, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In R (oao Boulting & Anor) v HMRC [2020] EWHC 2207 (Admin), the High Court refused permission to bring a judicial review claim against HMRC, on the basis that the taxpayer had an 'alternative remedy'.

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Box – child benefit charge interpreted as 'income' for the purpose of discovery assessments

Published on 14 October 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Martin Richard Box v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 353 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) dismissed a taxpayer's appeal concerning liability to pay the high-income child benefit (HICB) charge, on the basis that the charge constituted income for the purpose of discovery assessments.

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Tax Bites - October 2020

Published on 01 October 2020. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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Welcome to the latest edition of RPC's Tax Bites - providing monthly bite-sized updates from the tax world.

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RBS – HMRC's application for specific disclosure refused

Published on 30 September 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 321 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) refused an application by HMRC for a direction requiring the taxpayer to provide specific disclosure.

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Contentious tax: quarterly review - September 2020

Published on 29 September 2020. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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The increased flow of information and data to HMRC under the common reporting standard (CRS) has prompted a flurry of so-called ‘nudge’ letters to be issued by HMRC to taxpayers whose offshore affairs it considers may not be in order.

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Ahmed - HMRC cannot 'refresh' penalty time limit  by reissuing information notices

Published on 23 September 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Salim Ahmed v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 337 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed the taxpayer’s appeal against a penalty for failing to comply with an information notice because the penalty notice was not issued within 12 months of the taxpayer becoming liable to a penalty and HMRC could not refresh the time period by issuing a subsequent information notice which merely repeated earlier information notices.

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Tax Bites - September 2020

Published on 03 September 2020. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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Welcome to the latest edition of RPC's Tax Bites - providing monthly bite-sized updates from the tax world.

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Archer: No reasonable excuse

Published on 19 August 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In William Archer v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 0288 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) confirmed that surcharge notices had been validly issued and that the taxpayer did not have a 'reasonable excuse' for non-payment as a result of his related judicial review claim.

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Michael Vaughan - High Court declines to rectify contract to prevent tax charge

Published on 12 August 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In (1) MV Promotions Ltd (2) Michael Vaughan v (1) Telegraph Media Group Ltd (2) HMRC [2020] EWHC 1357 (Ch), the High Court elected not to exercise its discretion to rectify a provision in a contract for services, despite a mutual mistake rendering one party liable for additional tax.

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Tax Bites - August 2020

Published on 06 August 2020. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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Welcome to the latest edition of RPC's Tax Bites - providing monthly bite-sized updates from the tax world.

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Royal Bank of Canada – Canadian bank liable to pay UK tax on assigned oil royalties

Published on 05 August 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Royal Bank of Canada v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 267 (TC) the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) held that a Canadian bank was subject to UK tax on royalties assigned to it following its oil company creditor entering receivership.

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Sheiling - Belief in procedural invalidity of APN can constitute reasonable excuse

Published on 22 July 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Sheiling Properties Ltd v HMRC [2020] UKUT 175 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT), in dismissing an appeal against penalties for non-payment of accelerated payment notices (APNs), confirmed that a reasonable belief that the APNs were invalid could constitute a reasonable excuse for non-payment.

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Tax Bites - July 2020

Published on 02 July 2020. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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Welcome to the latest edition of RPC's Tax Bites - providing monthly bite-sized updates from the tax world.

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Bella Figura – Unauthorised payment charge set aside

Published on 01 July 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In HMRC v Bella Figura [2020] UKUT, the Upper Tribunal (UT) held that a scheme sanction charge stood as a valid assessment and partially allowed the taxpayer's cross-appeal, setting aside HMRC's assessments of an unauthorised payments charge and surcharge as being out of time.

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Sippchoice – Allowable contributions to a SIPP are restricted to payments of money

Published on 24 June 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In HMRC v Sippchoice Ltd [2020] UKUT 0149 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) has allowed HMRC’s appeal and confirmed that 'contributions paid' to a SIPP are restricted to contributions of money and do not encompass transfers of non-monetary assets.

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Partners and closure notices: making amends

Published on 10 June 2020. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In R (on the application of Amrolia) v HMRC; R (on the application of Ranjit-Singh) v HMRC [2020] EWCA Civ 488, the Court of Appeal held that notices amending individual partners’ tax returns under section 28B(4), Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA), were not closure notices and therefore did not need to specify the final amounts of tax due.

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Looney – Termination payments were trading receipts

Published on 13 May 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Kieran Looney & Anor v HMRC [2020] UKUT 0119 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) has dismissed an appeal against the First-tier Tribunal's (FTT) decision that a termination payment and other payments made under a contract entered into by a partnership to provide management training, were trading receipts of a partnership.

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Coyle – Upper Tribunal refuses permission to appeal out of time

Published on 06 May 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Michael Coyle t/a Coyle Transport v HMRC [2020] UKUT 0113 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) set aside the decision of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) for errors of law, but reached the same conclusion as the FTT and refused the taxpayer permission to appeal out of time.

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Higgs – FTT lacks jurisdiction to disapply the PAYE Regulations

Published on 15 April 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Philip Higgs and Others v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 117 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) determined that it did not have jurisdiction to determine whether HMRC is entitled to exercise a discretion under section 684(7A), ITEPA, to disapply the PAYE Regulations.

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Booth – Penalty appeal struck out

Published on 01 April 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In CF Booth Ltd v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 35 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) struck out the taxpayer's appeal against penalties imposed for deliberate inaccuracies in its VAT returns, on the basis that the appeal amounted to an 'abuse of process'.

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Credit Suisse: Appeal allowed as HMRC had failed to open a valid enquiry

Published on 25 March 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Ltd and others v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 86 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed a company's appeal against a closure notice on the grounds that HMRC had not issued a valid notice of enquiry.

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McMillan – Gambling proceeds not taxable income

Published on 18 March 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In McMillan v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 0082 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) held that proceeds of gambling were not taxable income.

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MXC Dunlin – Interest due on repayments of tax paid in the 1980s

Published on 26 February 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In MCX Dunlin (UK) Ltd v HMRC [2020] EWHC 11 (Ch), the High Court has held that interest was due on repayments of liabilities to petroleum revenue tax (PRT) dating from the 1980s, which had been met by crediting advance PRT (APRT).

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Devon Waste Management – Waste firms win appeal in landfill 'fluff' case

Published on 05 February 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Devon Waste Management Ltd and Others v HMRC [2020] UKUT 1 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) has held that the disposal of certain waste materials did not attract a charge to landfill tax.

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Lloyd-Webber – capital gains losses allowed over properties which were never completed

Published on 29 January 2020. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Lloyd-Webber and another v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 717 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has held that a payment made under a contract for the acquisition of land was for the acquisition of contractual rights, rather than for the land, giving rise to an allowable loss on termination of the contract.

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Jafari – HMRC criticised for breach of its duty to assist the Tribunal

Published on 18 December 2019. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Jafari v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 692 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) criticised HMRC for failing in its duty to bring relevant authorities to its attention.

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Contentious tax quarterly review (Q4 2019)

Published on 16 December 2019. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In this quarterly review we consider: HMRC’s increasing propensity to seek to strike out the taxpayer’s case; recent developments in relation to IR35; the timing of tribunal decisions; and the potential implications of the Inverclyde decision.

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Knibbs – HMRC's challenge to carry-back loss relief claims was correct

Published on 11 December 2019. By Constantine Christofi, Senior Associate

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In Knibbs and ors v HMRC and R (oao Astley and ors) v HMRC [2019] EWCA Civ 1719, the Court of Appeal has held that Schedule 1B, Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA) can apply to a claim for carry-back loss relief.

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