Latest by Michelle Sloane

Blog

HMRC's new powers to investigate furlough abuse

Published on 02 September 2020. By Michelle Sloane, Partner and Alice Kemp, Associate (Employed Barrister)

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The Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was announced on 20 March 2020, with the aim of safeguarding UK jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. The CJRS has undoubtably assisted in protecting jobs but it was, by necessity introduced quickly, with little and complex guidance, which has made it, in the words of HMRC's Chief Executive Jim Harra, a "magnet for fraudsters".

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HMRC Crackdown on Facilitation of Tax Evasion

Published on 01 September 2020. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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Increased pressure on HMRC to boost tax revenues due to the economic cost of COVID-19 may bring about a surge in charging decisions for failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion (Corporate Criminal Offences (CCO)).

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Publication

Customs and excise quarterly update - August 2020

Published on 25 August 2020. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In this update we report on (1) the government's guidance concerning border planning for the end of the transition period; (2) the government's plans to support customs intermediaries; and (3) the government's recently published policy papers on moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol, following the transition period. We also comment on three cases relating to (1) whether UK acquisition VAT can apply when a bonded warehouse is not located in the UK; (2) the clarification of factors HMRC can use to determine whether a person is 'fit and proper' to carry out a controlled activity; and (3) whether an acquittal of a criminal charge can preclude HMRC from issuing an excise duty assessment.

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Tougher sentences proposed for counterfeiters

Published on 24 July 2020. By Alice Kemp, Associate (Employed Barrister) and Michelle Sloane, Partner

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On 8 July 2020, the Sentencing Council issued draft Sentencing Guidelines for offences under section 92 of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (unauthorised use of trade mark) which, if implemented, will substantially increase the severity of potential sentences imposed by the courts on those individuals and corporations who have committed a section 92 offence.

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Ampleaward - purchaser using UK VAT number not liable for UK acquisition VAT where goods housed in overseas warehousing regime

Published on 08 July 2020. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Ampleaward Ltd v HMRC [2020] UKUT 0170 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) has found in favour of the taxpayer and confirmed that HMRC was not entitled to claim UK acquisition VAT on the purchase of alcohol from a supplier situated in a second EU state, which was then delivered to a tax warehouse in a third EU state.

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HMRC powers to tackle furlough fraudsters – take action now!

Published on 02 July 2020. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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At the time of writing, over 25% of the UK workforce is being supported by the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the furlough scheme) at a cost of around £20 billion. In addition to this, some 2.6 million people are enrolled on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (the SEISS) at an additional cost of £7.5 billion.

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Publication

Customs and excise quarterly update May 2020

Published on 26 May 2020. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In this update we report on (1) temporary changes to customs authorisations during the coronavirus outbreak; (2) the government's plans to introduce 10 new freeports; and (3) a new liability for carrying out an operation or dilution on wine. We also comment on three recent cases relating to (1) refusal of permission to appeal an excise duty assessment out of time; (2) the customs classification of mobility scooters; and (3) liability to pay excise duty in relation to the movement of dutiable goods under a suspension regime.

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Linpac – Tribunal confirms that EU group relief claims did not replace earlier domestic claims to relief

Published on 04 March 2020. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Linpac Group Holdings Ltd v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 60 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed an appeal against an HMRC decision that the taxpayer's claim for group relief had been withdrawn by a subsequent claim.

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Corporate failure to prevent tax evasion update – a policy is not enough

Published on 21 February 2020. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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It is no secret that the government has a laser focus on making corporates pay for their roles in "facilitating" tax evasion. Recent figures show that HMRC are serious in their drive to hold companies responsible for tax evasion; even companies with seemingly watertight procedures are susceptible. Now is the time to ensure that your regimes are watertight.

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Charnley - Tribunal puts HMRC out to pasture in allowing business and agricultural relief

Published on 12 February 2020. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In W Charnley and M Hodgkinson as executors of the estate of Thomas Gill (deceased) v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 0650 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) confirmed that inheritance tax agricultural property relief (APR) and business property relief (BPR) was available in relation to Mr Gill's estate.

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Higgins – for the purposes of PPR relief "period of ownership" starts on completion

Published on 08 January 2020. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Desmond Higgins v HMRC [2019] EWCA Civ 1869, the Court of Appeal has held that the date of acquisition of an off-plan property for the purposes of principal private residence relief (PPR) was the date of completion and not the date of exchange of contracts.

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Blog

Quentin Skinner – shares sold by trust eligible for entrepreneurs' relief

Published on 25 September 2019. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In The Quentin Skinner 2008 Settlement L and others v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 516 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has held that for a trust to qualify for entrepreneurs' relief (ER) on a disposal of shares, it was not necessary for the trust's beneficiary to have had an interest in possession in the shares for the period prescribed in section 169J(4), Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992 (TCGA).

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Contentious tax: quarterly review (Q3 2019)

Published on 20 September 2019. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In this quarterly review, Adam Craggs and Michelle Sloane consider HMRC’s increasing propensity to seek the production of documents from accountants and other professional advisers, HMRC’s new policy of challenging taxpayers’ loan relationships, and the increase in the number of domicile enquiries launched by HMRC.

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Warshaw – preference shares equal to ordinary share capital and taxpayer entitled to entrepreneurs' relief

Published on 29 July 2019. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Steven Warshaw v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 268 (TCC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has confirmed that as the relevant preference shares did not attract a fixed dividend, they could amount to ordinary share capital for the purpose of entrepreneur's relief (ER).

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OWD – HMRC unable to permit temporary trading pending appeal

Published on 12 July 2019. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In OWD Ltd trading as Birmingham Cash and Carry (in Liquidation) and Anor v HMRC [2019] UKSC 30, the Supreme Court has held that HMRC does not have power under section 88C, Alcohol Duties Liquor Act 1979 (ALDA) or section 9, Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 (CRCA), to permit temporary trading pending the determination of an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) against HMRC's refusal to grant approval under the Alcohol Wholesalers Registration Scheme (AWRS).

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Q Ltd – interim injunction continued pending appeal

Published on 23 May 2019. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Q Ltd v HMRC [2019] EWHC 712 (QB), in considering the balance of risk, the High Court continued an interim injunction pending the outcome of the taxpayer's appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (FTT).

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HMRC's unreasonable conduct leads to costs award against it

Published on 20 May 2019. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In E v HMRC [2018] UKFTT 771 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has found that HMRC acted unreasonably in not withdrawing an information notice earlier than it did and awarded the taxpayer his costs.

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Snow Factor – Upper Tribunal determines the meaning of "financial extremity"

Published on 18 April 2019. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Snow Factor Ltd v HMRC [2019] UKUT 77 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) has determined the meaning of the phrase "financial extremity might be reasonably expected to result from that decision of HMRC" in section 85(B), Value Added Tax Act 1994 (VATA).

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Tang - Bare trust existed notwithstanding lack of trust document

Published on 12 April 2019. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Lily Tang v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 81, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) held that there was a bare trust despite the absence of a trust document and that the bare trustee was not liable to notify HMRC or for tax in relation to funds she held on trust.

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Curzon – contractor loan scheme notifiable under DOTAS but scheme administrator not a 'promoter'

Published on 04 March 2019. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In HMRC v Curzon Capital Ltd [2019] UKFTT 0063 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has held that a contractor loan scheme was a notifiable arrangement for the purposes of the disclosure of tax avoidance arrangements (DOTAS) regime, but that the scheme administrator was not a promoter. Accordingly, HMRC's application for an order that the arrangements were notifiable was dismissed.

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Hegarty – HMRC information notices invalid

Published on 15 February 2019. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Hegarty v HMRC [2018] UKFTT 0774 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has held that HMRC issued invalid information notices under paragraph 1, Schedule 36, Finance Act 2008 (FA 2008), as it did not provide any evidence to support its suspicion that the taxpayers had paid insufficient tax.

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HMRC launches profit diversion compliance facility

Published on 12 February 2019. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Michelle Sloane, Partner

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On 10 January 2019, HMRC launched their Profit Diversion Compliance Facility (PDCF). The PDCF is a new voluntary disclosure facility, aimed at multinational enterprises (MNEs), that provides them with an opportunity to disclose and correct tax inaccuracies relating to profits diverted out of the UK.

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Vacation Rentals – taxpayer had legitimate expectation that HMRC guidance could be relied on

Published on 14 December 2018. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In R (on the application of Vacation Rentals (UK) Ltd) (formerly The Hoseasons Group Ltd) v HMRC [2018] UKUT 383 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT), has held that HMRC was bound by its published guidance in Business Brief 18/06 (BB18/06) concerning the treatment of payments for card handling services.

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The Serpentine Trust Ltd – HMRC entitled to raise VAT assessments despite binding contractual agreement

Published on 03 December 2018. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In The Serpentine Trust Ltd v HMRC [2018] UKFTT 535, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has held that although HMRC had agreed with the taxpayer one basis for calculating VAT, under its alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedure, it was not precluded from raising VAT assessments on a different basis because the agreement reached was ultra vires and therefore void.

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Publication

Customs and excise quarterly update November 2018

Published on 26 November 2018. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In this update we report on HMRC’s guidance on how to prepare for the Customs Declaration Service, the launch of the Customs Declaration Service and HMRC’s guidance on trading with the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. We also comment on three recent cases relating to the calculation of gaming duty, tariff classification of seasoned chicken meat and mobility scooters.

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Thornton – Identifiable HMRC officer must determine penalties

Published on 19 November 2018. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Robert, Adam and Dorothy Thornton (trading as A* Education) v HMRC [2018] UKFTT 568 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has held that penalties for failure to file employment intermediaries returns (EIRs) were invalidly issued, as they had not been made by an identifiable officer of HMRC under section 100, Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA).

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Done Brothers – supplies through fixed odds betting terminals exempt from VAT

Published on 15 October 2018. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd v HMRC [2018] UKFTT 406 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has held that supplies made through fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) are exempt from VAT.

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Customs and excise quarterly update August 2018

Published on 29 August 2018. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In this update we report on changes to gaming duty accounting periods, HMRC’s policy paper on tobacco duty on heated tobacco and an amendment to the Export (Penalty) Regulations 2003. We also comment on three recent cases relating to the customs classification of Beyblades, excise duty assessment time limits and restoration of seized tobacco.

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Bradshaw – Tribunal confirms ignorance of the law is a reasonable excuse and cancels  penalties

Published on 09 August 2018. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In A and R Bradshaw v HMRC [2018] UKFTT 0368 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has held that a taxpayer's ignorance of the law is a reasonable excuse in relation to the late filing of a non-resident CGT return (NRCGT return).

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Allpay - Tribunal refuses HMRC permission to amend its Statement of Case and awards costs to the taxpayer

Published on 23 July 2018. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Allpay Ltd v HMRC [2018] UKFTT 0273 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has dismissed HMRC's application to amend its Statement of Case to plead a new legal issue.

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Anderson - Upper Tribunal considers knowledge test for the purpose of discovery assessments

Published on 11 June 2018. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Jerome Anderson v HMRC [2018] UKUT 159 (TC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) has dismissed a football agent's appeal upholding the First-tier Tribunal's (FTT) decision to disallow relief for losses incurred in relation to a football academy ran by the agent. The UT also agreed with the FTT that HMRC had issued a valid discovery assessment.

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Onillon – Failure to take Follower Notice 'corrective action' reasonable in all the circumstances

Published on 27 April 2018. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Onillon v HMRC [2018] UKFTT 33 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed the taxpayer's appeal against a penalty imposed for failing to take corrective action following the issue of a Follower Notice (FN) as it was reasonable in all the circumstances for the taxpayer not to take such action.

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Taylor Wimpey – Upper Tribunal clarifies the application of the 'builder's block' scheme

Published on 20 March 2018. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Taylor Wimpey Plc v HMRC [2018] UKUT 55, the Upper Tribunal (UT) has allowed in part the taxpayer's appeal in relation to its claim to recover input VAT incurred on the provision of certain white goods, kitchen appliances and carpets installed in newly built houses.

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English Holdings - UT allows set-off of corporation tax loss against general income

Published on 05 February 2018. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In English Holdings Ltd v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 0346 (TC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) upheld a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) which allowed an appeal by a non-UK resident company against a decision of HMRC refusing its claim to offset losses arising in its UK permanent establishment (PE) against profits earned by its UK property rental business.

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Spurs 2 : 0 HMRC – termination payment not taxable earnings

Published on 20 December 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner and Adam Craggs, Partner

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The Upper Tribunal (UT) has confirmed the decision of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) that payments made by Spurs in respect of two players on early termination of their contracts were not earnings. They were termination payments and, therefore, were outside the scope of national insurance contributions (NICs).

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Spurs 2 : 0 HMRC – payment on early termination of fixed term contract not taxable as earnings

Published on 20 December 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Tottenham Hotspur Ltd v HMRC [2017] UKUT 453 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal (UT) has confirmed the decision of the First-tier Tribunal that payments made by an employer in respect of two football players on early termination of their fixed term contracts were not earnings. They were termination payments and, therefore, were outside the scope of national insurance contributions (NICs).

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NCL Investments - Tribunal allows deductions against trading profits in EBT case

Published on 06 November 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In NCL Investments Limited and another v HMRC [2017] UKFTT 495, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) held that accounting debits relating to the grant of share options to employees were a deductible expense for corporation tax purposes.

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Thathiah: HMRC unsuccessful in first senior accounting officer penalty appeal

Published on 13 September 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Kreeson Thathiah v HMRC [2017] UKFTT 0601 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed an appeal against penalties which had been assessed on the finance director of a group of companies under the Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) regime, contained in Schedule 46, Finance Act 2009 (FA 2009), as HMRC had failed to establish that he had breached his duty as a SAO.

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Gray – FTT allows appeal against discovery assessment as ITV correctly accounted for PAYE

Published on 03 August 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Gray v HMRC [2017] UKFTT 0275, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed the taxpayer's appeal against a discovery assessment in relation to a termination payment as there was no additional tax to assess in the relevant year and in any event the assessment was out of time.

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Publication

New corporate criminal offence

Published on 21 July 2017. By Adam Craggs, Partner and Michelle Sloane, Partner

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Failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion

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Archer: judicial review in the context of statutory tax appeals

Published on 13 June 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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The High Court's judgment in R (on the application of Archer) v HMRC [2017] EWHC 296 (Admin) is one of a number of recent decisions where it has been found that the taxpayer had not challenged HMRC's decision in the correct forum.

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Euro Packaging UK Limited – classification of long-life shopping bags

Published on 25 April 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In HMRC v Euro Packaging UK Limited [2017] UKFTT 0160, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed the Appellant's appeal against decisions of HMRC relating to the customs duty to be paid on the importation from countries outside the EU of shopping bags and its refusal to remit the customs duty.

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HMRC's failure to exercise its discretion unreasonable

Published on 03 March 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In G B Housley Limited v HMRC [2016] EWCA Civ 1299, the Court of Appeal allowed the Appellant's appeal and restored the decision of the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) which had discharged HMRC's VAT assessment on the basis HMRC had failed to correctly exercise its discretion.

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VAT recovery on management buyout fees

Published on 07 February 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Heating Plumbing Supplies Limited [2016] UKFTT 753, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed a VAT group's appeal against HMRC's denial of input tax recovery on advisory fees incurred in a management buyout.

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Tribunal refuses to allow HMRC to rely upon section 114 TMA to cure its mistakes

Published on 18 January 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Chartridge Developments Limited v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2016] UKFTT 766, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) allowed (in part) the taxpayer's appeal against penalties imposed for late filing of annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED) returns under section 161(3), Finance Act 2013, and refused to allow HMRC to rely upon section 114 Taxes Management Act 1970 (TMA).

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Draft Finance Bill 2017—off-payroll working in the public sector

Published on 05 January 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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Tax analysis: Adam Craggs, partner at RPC, and Michelle Sloane, senior associate at the firm, explain the reformed off-payroll rules for public sector engagements under the Finance Bill 2017.

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Upper Tribunal confirms that right to make VAT repayment claims belongs to representative member of VAT Group

Published on 03 January 2017. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In HMRC v MG Rover Group Limited; Standard Chartered PLC v HMRC [2016] UKUT 434, the UT has confirmed that section 43, Value Added Tax Act 1994 (VATA) required repayment rights under section 80, VATA, to be held only by the representative member both before and after they have left the group or the group has been dissolved.

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GMAC (UK) Plc – Court of Appeal finds VAT bad debt relief provisions incompatible with EU law

Published on 29 December 2016. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In HMRC v GMAC (UK) Plc [2016] EWCA Civ 1015, the Court of Appeal has held that the UK's legislation, which barred bad debt relief claims unless the debtor was insolvent and the property in the goods had passed, was incompatible with EU law.

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Lomas – Court confirms statutory interest payable on insolvency is not 'yearly interest' and criticises HMRC's change of position

Published on 01 November 2016. By Michelle Sloane, Partner

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In Lomas and others v HMRC [2016] EWHC 2492 (Ch), the High Court has confirmed that statutory interest payable on insolvency is not 'yearly interest' for UK tax purposes. The administrators therefore had no obligation to account for income tax on the interest payments made. The Court was also critical of HMRC's contradictory guidance on this issue.

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