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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 UK 2022:

Barristers at Wilberforce Chambers act for individuals on the full array of private client matters. They regularly advise on onshore and offshore trusts, as well as tax domicile issues. An interviewee reports: “This is an excellent chambers for offshore tax and core private client work.”

The Legal 500 UK 2022:

Wilberforce Chambers has an illustrious history of advising on the taxation of trusts and estates as well as on the taxation aspects of pension schemes and capital gains tax. In the case of Gareth Clark v HM Revenue and Customs, which reached the Court of Appeal, Jonathan Davey QC is acting for HM Revenue and Customs in a test case concerning the liberation of pension funds through the setting up of UK and offshore trusts and other such structures.


Recent cases

A selection of recent tax case in which members have been involved include:

  • Gareth Clark v HMRC [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 HM Revenue and Customs [2020] EWCA Civ 452 – important Court of Appeal ruling on EU principle of fiscal neutrality.
  • Ingenious Film Partners 2 LLP v HMRC [2019] UKUT 0226 (TCC) – £1 billion dispute concerning taxation of creative industry business structure
  • Andrew v HMRC [2019] 177 (TC) – dispute concerning taxation applicable in relation to complex gilt strip structure
  • Shelford v HMRC [2019] (Test case – judgment awaited from the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber)) – dispute concerning inheritance tax home loan arrangements
  • London Luton BPRA Property Fund LLP v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 212 (TC) – multi-million pound capital allowances test case regarding hotel development
  • BAV-TMW-GLobaler-Immobilien Spezialfonds v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 129 (TC) – case concerning eligibility of German statutory pension schemes to register, unlawful discrimination
  • Estate of Lady Hood v HMRC [2018] EWCA Civ 2405 – leading Court of Appeal case regarding gift with reservation inheritance tax provisions
  • Scott v HMRC [2018] UKUT 236 – interaction between corresponding deficiency relief and rate of CGT (currently on appeal)
  • Seven Individuals v HMRC [2017] UKUT 132 (TCC); Acornwood LLP v HMRC [2016] UKUT 36 (TCC) – £400 million dispute concerning taxation of Icebreaker film scheme
  • Barker v Baxendale Walker [2017] EWCA Civ 2056 – dispute regarding employee trusts and the meaning of section 28(4) of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984
  • Samarkand Film Partnership No 3 [2017] EWCA (Civ) 77 – film scheme partnership case concerning trading and sideways loss relief
  • Eynsham Cricket Club v HMRC [2017] UKFTT 611 (TC) – test case concerning difference in tax treatment between charities and community amateur sports clubs
  • Morgan Lloyd Trustees Ltd v HMRC [2017] FTT 131 – pension scheme case concerning tangible moveable property and convention compatibility of tax charge on members
  • Hargreaves v HMRC [2016] 1 WLR 2198 (CA) – discovery assessment and preliminary hearings
  • Trustees of the Travers WT v HMRC [2013] WTLR 1831 – case concerning taxation of royalties receivable by trustees and issue of whether income or capital