Tax Disputes

We have a well-established Tax Disputes practice and have regularly and successfully represented and advised clients in a wide range of disputes and investigations with and including tax authorities, including Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the UK. However, most tax disputes do not result in litigation and we have considerable expertise in assisting with enquiries from and the negotiation of settlements with tax authorities.

Specialists from our Dispute Resolution and Tax groups work closely together on tax disputes, forming a formidable, integrated team of experts able to deal with all aspects of the case innovatively, seamlessly and efficiently.

Significant public successes for our clients include the clarification of the tax treatment of dividends by the Court of Appeal in Nationwide v HMRC, the Court of Appeal's decision in FCE Bank on the application of the US/UK double tax treaty and the High Court's decision in Homeserve Membership Limited v HMRC (which had significant implications for many general insurers).

As a member of the Best Friends Tax Network we won 'European Tax Disputes Firm of the Year' at the European Tax Awards 2016.

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They’re able to master the subject matter they’re looking at in any given case. They are always on top of everything. If you have a case you want to win, I would say go with them Chambers UK, 2017

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Our key experience includes advising:

Nationwide in relation to a substantial dispute with HMRC regarding the tax treatment of a structured finance transaction; the First-tier and Upper Tribunals and the Court of Appeal each found in Nationwide’s favour on all accounts.

Deutsche Morgan Grenfell and Sempra Metals Limited in the widely-reported successful test cases brought under the Advance Corporation Tax Group Litigation Order challenging the applicable limitation period for claims made in respect of mistake of law and establishing that compound interest should be awarded as compensation for the wrongful payments of ACT; the landmark House of Lords’ decisions in these cases had implications far beyond the tax field.

Bank of Ireland Britain Holdings in relation to a major corporation tax dispute with HMRC: the Special Commissioners, the High Court and the Court of Appeal all held in favour of the Bank of Ireland, providing important clarification on the tax treatment of tri-partite repos.

Homeserve Membership Limited, the leading insurance intermediary for domestic emergency services, in its successful appeal to the High Court from the VAT and Duties Tribunal; the judgment provided important clarification for the insurance intermediary sector.

Talisman Energy in relation to its successful appeal to the First-tier Tax Tribunal in respect of allowances against Petroleum Revenue Tax arising from expenditure incurred in the winning of oil in the North Sea.

Ford of Europe Inc in its successful appeal against a decision of HMRC in respect of a claim for the return of over £76 million paid in corporation tax. The First-tier Tribunal, the Upper Tribunal and the Court of Appeal all found in favour of Ford.

Reed on appeals against HMRC tax assessments for allegedly unpaid income tax and national insurance contributions as well as in relation to connected judicial review proceedings; in addition to breaking new procedural ground, this case addresses several key substantive issues including the effect in law of HMRC’s regime on dispensations.

Reed on claims for over-accounted VAT during a period of many years in respect of the supply of temporary workers. The correct VAT treatment of the relevant supplies having been established in Reed’s favour, the Upper Tribunal is now considering the interaction between the unjust enrichment rules and the three year 'cap'.

Bupa, Nationwide and others on the Moneta tax litigation, a group of appeals against HMRC’s refusal to allow claims to consortium relief going back over a number of years.