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Tax Take

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Plain sailing for taxpayer in judicial review case

21 September 2012

Although the recent case of Cameron & others v Revenue and Customs [2012] EWHC 1174 (Admin) related to the narrow area of Foreign Earnings Deduction (‘FED’) for seafarers,...

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Companies move back in, but lightning won’t strike twice

Published on 21 September 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

Against the backdrop of the huge success of the 2012 Olympics, HMRC have received some encouraging news that the extensive reforms introduced to the taxation of the foreign profits of companies over the last five years is starting to bear fruit.

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HMRC's consulation – "Lifting the lid on tax avoidance schemes”

Published on 21 September 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

On 23 July 2012 HMRC published a consultation document “Lifting the lid on tax avoidance schemes”.

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Brown v InnovatorOne Plc – good news for advisers involved in tax mitigation structures

Published on 21 September 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

A recent judgment of the High Court in Andrew Brown and ors v InnovatorOne plc and Ors [2012] EWHC 1321 (Comm) is welcome news for professional advisers who may have acted for clients involved in the design, implementation or distribution of tax efficient arrangements.

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Information Commissioner investigates HMRC over whistleblower enquiry

Published on 21 September 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

An interesting article appeared in the Guardian newspaper (Thursday 7 June 2012) which reignites previous controversies, which we have commented upon, concerning ‘sweetheart deals’...

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A case of interest?

Published on 11 September 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

In Garnett Paul Curran v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 517 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (‘FTT’) has given some helpful guidance on what constitutes interest...

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Claim for overpaid VAT held not to be abusive

Published on 30 August 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

In St Martins Medical Services Limited v HMRC [2012] UK FTT 485 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal (‘FTT’) has recently allowed a claim for overpaid VAT made by a taxpayer,...

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Composite transaction fails

Published on 30 July 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

In HP Schofield v HMRC [2012] EWCA Civ 927, the Court of Appeal has recently dismissed an appeal made by a taxpayer (the test case for over two hundred appeals) in relation to a tax mitigation strategy designed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (‘PwC’), which was intended to assist the taxpayer in mitigating a capital gain that would otherwise become due.

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HMRC fails in its attempt to obtain disclosure of privileged documents

Published on 21 July 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

The important issue of disclosure of documents in the context of litigation before the First-tier Tribunal (Tax) (‘the FTT’) was recently considered in Peter A D Fisher, Stephen D Fisher and Anne P Fisher v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 335.

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Two wrongs do not make a right – criminal convictions and stolen data

Published on 19 July 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

On Friday 5 July 2012 HMRC announced that a wealthy property developer, who had failed to disclose a Swiss bank account to HMRC during a civil inquiry, had pleaded guilty to the serious charge of cheating the public revenue

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HMRC – Not enough staff and too much uncollected tax

Published on 29 May 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons (‘the PAC’) has published its 87th report (HC Session 2010-12) on HMRC’s Compliance and Enforcement Programme.

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Eclipse Film Partners No 35 – To trade or not to trade, that is the question!

Published on 15 May 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

The First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) ('FTT') has recently held in Eclipse Film Partners No 35 LLP v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 270 (TC),...

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Retrospective legislation: where are we now?

Published on 09 May 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

I commented last year on the important decision in Huitson, in which the Court of Appeal, hearing a joined appeal from two judicial review claims,...

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Tax tribunal prevents HMRC from broadening their attack on an SDLT return

Published on 30 April 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

The distinction between fixtures (which form part of the land) and chattels (which do not) can have significant consequences for stamp duty land tax ('SDLT') purposes.

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Another voyage of discovery by HMRC - hypothetical ignorance?

Published on 24 April 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

This month saw the release of yet another discovery assessment case: Sanderson v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 207 (TC).

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All taxpayers are equal, although some are more equal than others!

16 April 2012

In the recent case of Spectrum Legal Services Limited v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 191 (TC), HMRC drew criticism from the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) ('Tribunal') over its refusal to treat two taxpayers, in similar circumstances, in the same way

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Taxpayers are entitled to organise their affairs so that the minimum amount of tax is paid!

Published on 02 April 2012. By Daniel Hemming, Senior Associate

The recent decision of the First-tier Tax Tribunal ('FTT') in James Albert McLaughlin v The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs1, is a timely reminder that taxpayers are perfectly entitled to organise their affairs so that the minimum amount of tax is paid.

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HMRC have to play by the rules too!

26 March 2012

The recent decision of the First-tier Tax Tribunal ('the Tribunal') in Furukawa Electric Europe Limited v Revenue & Customs Commissioners [2012] UKFTT 129 (TC) ('Furukawa'),...

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No discovery – HMRC fail before the First-Tier Tribunal

Published on 19 March 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

HMRC's ability to raise 'discovery' assessments under section 29 of the Taxes Management Act 1970 ('TMA'), is a topical issue at the moment and there have been a number of important cases in recent months (see our previous blog here of30/01/12).

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No more 'sweetheart' deals with the taxman?

Published on 12 March 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

HMRC have recently announced new governance arrangements for "significant tax disputes".

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HMRC run contrary arguments before the First-tier Tribunal!

Published on 05 March 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

In the recent case of Cobb v HMRC [2012] UK FTT 40 (TC), the First-tier Tribunal ('FTT') said that HMRC should be able to suspend all or part of a penalty imposed for a careless inaccuracy in a tax return of an individual...

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When is a document within a taxpayer's "possession or power"?

Published on 27 February 2012. By Daniel Hemming, Senior Associate

HMRC have a range of powers available to them under Schedule 36 of the Finance Act 2008 ("Schedule 36") to require persons to produce documents and information and to inspect premises.

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Unknown Associates

13 February 2012

How much evidence do you need to substantiate a claim for tax relief?

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A Voyage of Discovery: two recent Court of Appeal decisions

Published on 30 January 2012. By Daniel Hemming, Senior Associate

In December of last year, two differently constituted panels of the Court of Appeal handed down important judgments on the discovery provisions contained in sections 29 and 30B Taxes Management Act 1970 ('TMA 1970').

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Ending legal aid for millionaire defendants

Published on 17 January 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

Readers may not be aware of an extraordinary anomaly in our criminal justice system which has led to a significant drain on the legal aid fund.

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Tribunal criticises HMRC's unreasonable behaviour and awards costs to the taxpayer

Published on 09 January 2012. By Adam Craggs, Partner

In Nicholas Deluca v HMRC (TC01422) the First-tier Tribunal (Sir Stephen Oliver QC) criticised HMRC's conduct and directed that they make a contribution of half the costs incurred by Mr Deluca in connection with an HMRC enquiry into his tax return and his subsequent appeal to the Tribunal.

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Public Accounts Committee Report – HMRC criticised for 'cosy' deals

Published on 21 December 2011. By Adam Craggs, Partner

The report of the Public Accounts Committee ('the Committee') into alleged 'sweetheart' deals reached by HMRC with some of the largest companies in the UK was published yesterday.

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Goldman Sachs, Whistleblowing and HMRC – the sorry saga continues!

Published on 19 December 2011. By Adam Craggs, Partner

Osita Mba is a solicitor working at HMRC's Solicitor's Office.

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HMRC criticised again over delay in issuing late filing penalties

Published on 16 December 2011. By Adam Craggs, Partner

Readers may recall that in a recent blog I commented on the case of Hok Limited v Revenue & Customs Commissioners (TC1286) .

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More Swiss controversy!

Published on 07 December 2011. By Adam Craggs, Partner

I commented on the UK/Swiss tax deal in my blog of 26 August 2011.

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General Anti-Avoidance Rule ('GAAR') – will the 'centre ground' of tax planning be safe?

Published on 02 December 2011. By Adam Craggs, Partner

On 21 November the final report of the GAAR Study Group ('the Group'), a committee of the tax world's 'great and the good', chaired by Graham Aaronson QC, was published.

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SHIPS 2 - victory for the taxpayer!

Published on 25 November 2011. By Adam Craggs, Partner

The Supreme Court has refused HMRC's application for permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision in HMRC v Mayes [2011] EWCA CIV 407, a case involving tax arrangements marketed as "Ships 2".

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There's unreasonable, and there's wholly unreasonable!

21 November 2011

When it comes to awarding legal costs, the Tribunal has often been viewed as an island of leniency, especially when compared to the strict regime which governs High Court litigation.

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The (Tax) League of Nations

14 November 2011

This may not come as a huge surprise to tax and finance directors up and down the country, but the UK has continued its slide down the international league table of tax competitiveness, according to a new report from PWC.

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An arresting development

Published on 07 November 2011. By Adam Craggs, Partner

HMRC officers have arrested a tax advisor on the very day that he was due to give evidence before the Tax Tribunal on a capital gains tax issue.

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High Risk Avoidance Schemes – is another new regime really the way forward?

31 October 2011

HMRC's consultation on "High Risk Tax Avoidance Schemes", which closed at the end of August, has attracted some heavyweight responses it seems.

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Gaines-Cooper – the end of the road for the taxpayer

Published on 25 October 2011. By Adam Craggs, Partner

The Supreme Court, by a majority of four to one, has dismissed both appeals in the jointly heard judicial review cases of R (Davies and another) v HMRC; R (Gaines-Cooper) v HMRC [2011] UKSC 47 on 19 October 2011.

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Is the net really closing on Swiss bank accounts?

Published on 21 October 2011. By Daniel Hemming, Senior Associate

HMRC announced last week that they will shortly be writing to UK resident individuals and organisations holding bank accounts with HSBC in Geneva, using information obtained under a tax treaty last year.

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There is no escape - collecting cross border tax

17 October 2011

On 16 March 2010 the EU introduced Council Directive 2010/24/EU which deals with the mutual assistance across EU member states for the recovery of tax claims.

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Personal liability for directors – No escape from the taxman

Published on 07 October 2011. By Adam Craggs, Partner

One of the criticisms that is often made of the UK's complex insolvency legislation is that it is too easy for the directors of a company to put it into liquidation or administration, 'dump' the company's debts and then effectively start the same business again under the guise of a new company.

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The Taxman vs. the Treasury Select Committee: round 2

Published on 03 October 2011. By Daniel Hemming, Senior Associate

Following his first outing before the House of Commons' Treasury Select Committee in March, and the publication of the Committee's report in July (see my previous post), Dave Hartnett, the Permanent Secretary for Tax, returned on 12 September to answer further questions from MPs.

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When is a penalty unfair?

Published on 23 September 2011. By Adam Craggs, Partner

A recent tribunal case, Hok Limited v Revenue and Customs Commissioners (TC 1286) has found that HMRC did not act fairly and in good conscience where it had deliberately delayed sending out a penalty for the late filing of an employer's end of year returns until four months after the deadline had expired.

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HMRC opens its books to mortgage lenders

Published on 16 September 2011. By Daniel Hemming, Senior Associate

Having been first announced in the March 2010 Budget and following a pilot, the mortgage verification scheme, a joint venture between HMRC, the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association, was finally launched at the start of the month.

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SFO to request tax records

Published on 12 September 2011. By Daniel Hemming, Senior Associate

The SFO warned last week that companies suspected of paying bribes to win work overseas may be forced to hand over their tax records, in the hope that these may yield evidence of such bribes.

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Is the tide turning? HMRC lose discovery assessment appeal

Published on 02 September 2011. By Daniel Hemming, Senior Associate

Concern has been building for some time amongst taxpayers and their advisers about HMRC's apparently unfettered use of discovery assessments.

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Too easy? The UK's recent deal with the Swiss banks

Published on 26 August 2011. By Adam Craggs, Partner

The Swiss banking sector contributes 6.7% of the country's gross domestic product, almost 10% of tax revenues and provides the country with 142,000 skilled jobs.

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"Unacceptable" HMRC under fire from Treasury Select Committee

Published on 16 August 2011. By Daniel Hemming, Senior Associate

The House of Commons' Treasury Select Committee (the "Committee") recently released its report entitled "Administration and effectiveness of HM Revenue and Customs" (the "Report").

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Going backwards? Retrospective legislation can bite!

Published on 10 August 2011. By Daniel Hemming, Senior Associate

Retrospective legislation is a particularly hot topic at the moment.

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Above board, or backroom deals?

04 August 2011

The National Audit Office ('NAO') has recently recommended (see HM Revenue & Customs 2010-11 Accounts) that HMRC should ensure that a clear separation should exist between the negotiation and approval of large tax settlements in order to maintain public confidence in the appropriateness of all such settlements.

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COP that! HMRC propose a new contractual disclosure facility

Published on 28 July 2011. By Daniel Hemming, Senior Associate

On 20 July 2011, HMRC published a discussion document entitled: Civil Investigation of Fraud – Contractual Disclosure Facility.

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