Tax advice

Chambers has a distinguished history of expertise in taxation, particularly the taxation of trusts and estates, which complements its long-standing excellence in traditional Chancery work. Nowadays, these areas of tax expertise have expanded to cover a wider range of commercial areas relevant to clients of Chambers.

Areas of taxation where members of Chambers regularly advise include:

  • Inheritance tax and the taxation of estates
  • Capital gains tax
  • Income tax / national insurance contributions
  • Stamp duty / stamp duty land tax
  • Taxation of private trusts (including offshore/non-domiciliary aspects), charities and foundations
  • Taxation of pension schemes, employee benefit trusts and EFRBS
  • Some areas of VAT and capital allowances and corporation tax

Tax litigation

Our members act for taxpayers as well as for the government, appearing in the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber), Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) and the higher Courts in cases concerning taxation. In addition to oral and written advocacy, members of Chambers are regularly involved in resolving tax disputes without recourse to litigation whether by way of correspondence between taxpayers and HMRC or the preparation of applications to HMRC under particular statutory provisions (e.g. applications under section 268 of the Finance Act 2004 to discharge scheme sanction charges that have been applied to registered pension schemes) or otherwise.

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Rankings and recognition

Wilberforce is proud to have members ranked in both the private client tax and corporate tax categories of the directories. Chambers’ coverage includes the following:

Chambers & Partners 2024:Wilberforce Chambers is widely known as one of London’s top chancery sets, regularly involved in the largest litigation matters in the UK and offshore. It also has a high-end tax practice for private client matters. Members have recently represented HMRC in its dispute with Jamie Ritblat and others over the taxation of his property investment firm and other assets, including an employee benefit trust.

The Legal 500 2024:Wilberforce Chambers is well regarded for matters relating to the taxation of estates and trusts, and is praised by clients for having ‘excellent depth for pensions work.’ Jonathan Davey KC has a highly active disputes practice, including taking a leading role for HMRC in Ingenious Film Partners 2 LLP and others v HMRC, a £1.6bn tax dispute in the film and games industries.

Notable cases

Gala Film Partners LLP v HMRC [2023]

[2023] UKFTT 699 (TC)

Acted for the successful respondents in a case concerning issues relating to the activities of a film-related llp, including, among others, whether or not the activities of the partnership amounted to a trade; if so, whether the partnership’s expenditure was tax deductible as wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the trade; whether the partnership’s activities were carried on with a view to profit; and whether or not the partnership’s accounts complied with generally accepted accounting practice (GAAP).

Read the full judgment

Elborne v HMRC [2023]

[2023] UKFTT 626 (TC)

The case concerns whether or not a home loan inheritance tax scheme designed to remove the value of a freehold interest in real property from an individual’s inheritance tax estate whilst at the same time enabling the individual in question to continue to live in the property rent-free achieves its intended effect. The Tribunal found that on the proper construction of the applicable legislation, including section 103 of the Finance Act 1986, which deals with the treatment of certain debts and incumbrances, the scheme failed to achieve its intended effect. The Tribunal’s conclusion, which is in line with its decision of earlier this year in the case of Pride v HMRC [2023] UKFTT 00316 (TC), is of wide importance given the use of home loan inheritance tax schemes in relation to real property over several years up and down the country.

Read the full judgment

Pride v HMRC [2023]

[2023] UKFTT 316 (TC)

The case concerns whether or not a “home loan double trust” inheritance tax scheme designed to remove the value of real property and/or related loan notes from an individual’s estate for inheritance tax purposes achieves its intended effect. The case is of wide importance given the use of home loan inheritance tax schemes in relation to real property over several years up and down the country.

Read the full judgment

London Luton BPRA Property Fund LLP v HMRC [2023]

[2023] EWCA Civ 362

The case concerns the availability of business premises renovation allowances, a form of capital allowances, under the Capital Allowances Act 2001, in relation to the conversion of a property into a hotel situated near Luton airport. The case is the first occasion on which the Court of Appeal has considered the legislation in question, which applies in respect of numerous commercial property developments up and down the country.

Read the full judgment

Watts v Commissioners for HMRC [2022]

[2022] UKFTT 408 (TC)

A First-tier Tribunal appeal regarding a pre-planned tax scheme involving the disposal of gilt strips. The issues raised in the appeal include the meaning of the phrase “the amount payable on the transfer” (paragraph 14A(3) of Schedule 13 to the Finance Act 1996). The FTT (Judge Heidi Poon) held that on a purposive construction of the relevant legislation, the phrase “the amount payable on the transfer” was to be interpreted more broadly than the Appellant contended for, and, accordingly, on the facts of the case, the “transfer” in question comprised the aggregate of two amounts including a payment made for the assignment of an option.

Read the full judgment

Ingenious Film Partners 2 LLP and others v HMRC [2021]

[2021] EWCA Civ 1180

The highest value, longest running and most complex piece of tax litigation in more than a generation. A £1.6 billion dispute regarding the proper tax analysis in respect of partnerships involved in the film and games industries.

Read the full judgment

Gareth Clark v HMRC [2020]

[2020] EWCA Civ 204

Court of Appeal pensions/tax decision on meaning of “payment” in context of unauthorised payments charge regime and on nature of “discovery” assessments.

LIFE Services Ltd and The Learning Centre (Romford) Ltd v Commissioners for HMRC [2020]

[2020] EWCA Civ 452

Important Court of Appeal ruling on EU principle of fiscal neutrality.

Andrew v HMRC [2019]

[2019] 177 (TC)

A dispute concerning taxation applicable in relation to complex gilt strip structure.

Read the full judgment

Shelford (Herbert Life Settlement) v HMRC [2020]

[2020] UKFTT 53 (TC)

A high-value test case concerning issue of wide public importance regarding whether inheritance tax “home loan” structures amount to tax avoidance. Substantial coverage and interest in industry press.


BAV-TMW-GLobaler-Immobilien Spezialfonds v HMRC [2019]

[2019] UKFTT 129 (TC)

A case concerning eligibility of German statutory pension schemes to register, unlawful discrimination.

Viscount Hood as Executor of Estate of Lady Hood v HMRC [2018]

[2018] EWCA Civ 2405

A high-value, high-profile Court of Appeal test case affecting thousands of people regarding key inheritance tax provisions relating to “gifts with reservation” in relation to family homes.

Read the full judgment

Scott v HMRC [2018]

[2018] UKUT 236

A case concerning the interaction between corresponding deficiency relief and rate of CGT.


Seven Individuals v HMRC [2017]; Acornwood LLP v HMRC [2016] UKUT 36 (TCC)

[2017] UKUT 132 (TCC); [2016] UKUT 36 (TCC)

£400 million dispute concerning taxation of Icebreaker film scheme.

Barker v Baxendale Walker [2017]

[2017] EWCA Civ 2056

Dispute regarding employee trusts and the meaning of section 28(4) of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984.

Read the full judgment

Samarkand Film Partnership No 3 [2017]

[2017] EWCA (Civ) 77

Film scheme partnership case concerning trading and sideways loss relief.

Read the full judgment

Eynsham Cricket Club v HMRC [2017]

[2017] UKFTT 611 (TC)

A test case concerning difference in tax treatment between charities and community amateur sports clubs.

Read the full judgment

Morgan Lloyd Trustees Ltd v HMRC [2017]

[2017] FTT 131

Pension scheme case concerning tangible moveable property and convention compatibility of tax charge on members.

Hargreaves v HMRC [2016]

[2016] 1 WLR 2198 (CA)

Discovery assessment and preliminary hearings.

Trustees of the Travers WT v HMRC [2013]

[2013] WTLR 1831

Case concerning taxation of royalties receivable by trustees and issue of whether income or capital.

Insights View all thought leadership

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    Upper Tribunal decide tax and trusts appeal in respect of gilt strips

    Watts v Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs [2024] UKUT 00168 (TCC) Jonathan Davey KC has received judgment from the Upper Tribunal in an appeal concerning a claim for tax relief on losses said to arise on the sale of gilt strips.... Read more

    By Jonathan Davey KC
    Friday 14 June 2024

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    Wilberforce shortlisted for Set of the Year at the High Net Worth Awards 2024

    We are delighted to announce that Wilberforce Chambers has been shortlisted at the High Net Worth Awards 2024 for Set of the Year. Chambers and Partners’ criteria for this nomination reads as follows; “These award nominations and the ultimate winners are the... Read more

    Thursday 2 May 2024

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    Wilberforce shortlisted for Chambers of the Year at The Lawyer Awards 2024

    We are delighted to announce that Wilberforce Chambers has been shortlisted at this year’s The Lawyer Awards for Chambers of the Year! Winners will be announced on Tuesday 18th June at London’s JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel. We are incredibly... Read more

    Friday 12 April 2024

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    Four wins for Wilberforce at Chambers UK Bar Awards 2023

    We are absolutely delighted to have picked up four awards at last night’s Chambers UK Bar Awards! We are proud to announce that Wilberforce Chambers won the highly coveted ‘Set of the Year‘ award, as well as ‘Chancery Set of... Read more

    Friday 1 December 2023

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