Welcome to May’s Bite Sized

Apologies for the recent silence on the blog front, I have been away from the office a fair amount recently following a family bereavement.

Exciting new additions to the Tax team

Over the last couple of months you may have seen that we have added some new people to the team and with the addition of the Corporate Tax team, we have added another string to our bow. It became important for us as a team to be able to offer the corporate tax service line to accompany the personal tax advisory side. Many of the internationally mobile clients we work with are in essence corporates in their own right. Therefore we are delighted to have Andrew and Elena on board. In addition, we are delighted to add Stuart Hambling to the team as a tax director.

Details of their profiles are listed here for your review:

Domicile and HMRC

Over the last couple of years I have noticed a significant trend within HMRC to increase the number of investigations undertaken into a taxpayer’s domicile status. Whilst it is entirely correct that HMRC investigate cases where they suspect tax to be due, HMRC’s modus operandi when it comes to domicile investigations shows a worrying trend towards belligerence. Their approach in a number of cases I have seen and in a number of anecdotal stories from my counterparts in other firms, is to respond to answers with a multiple of questions, culminating in a referral to their technical specialists who take an inordinate amount of time to come back with even more questions. Recently I successfully represented a client during what was an entirely spurious domicile enquiry into a long deceased relative – even at the end, when presented with a mountain of evidence to support the position, HMRC could not accept categorically what was frankly blindingly obvious but stated that ‘they would not pursue their questioning further’. The client naturally felt that this was HMRC trying to have a final dig long after their case had fallen apart when HMRC should have had the grace to accept the domicile status and close the case with a more definitive statement.

So what are my tips for tackling domicile enquiries, or even the threat of being subject to them?

  • Firstly, take professional advice. A thorough and considered domicile opinion takes time and incurs costs. A cheap domicile opinion rarely stands up to scrutiny when HMRC come knocking. When it comes to domicile opinions, you get what you pay for. If you have a domicile opinion on file, keep it safe and if circumstances change, get it updated accordingly.
  • Secondly, keep records – if you have records they can ruin HMRC’s case. Contemporaneous records can really support the client’s domicile position.
  • Thirdly, try to resolve the matter as soon as possible – be proactive. If you wait on the technical teams to opine, you are in it for the long haul already.
  • Finally, push back. Don’t put up with HMRC taking the side that suits them most – challenge them and take it up the chain if necessary. The Adjudicator is there to assist if, post closure, HMRC is found to have been overly zealous incurring unnecessary costs and stress.

Walking for Macmillan Cancer Support

As I mentioned earlier in this month’s blog, I have been away from the office for some time due to a family bereavement. Sadly, my mother lost her valiant battle with cancer earlier this month. I will be taking part in the South Coast Ultra Challenge in August 2018 to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support who provided such amazing care for my mother towards the end of her life. Macmillan nurses provided so much support to her as her symptoms deteriorated and allowed her to pass away with a level of dignity which may not have been possible had it not been for their assistance.

I have enclosed a link to my Fund Raising page should anyone feel minded to understand more and consider sponsoring me as I attempt to trek 100km continuously over a 24+ hour period from Eastbourne to Arundel, over the South Downs and beyond. To view the page please click here.

Kind regards

Frank Strachan
Partner | Head of Tax
For Edwin Coe LLP

d: +44 (0)20 7691 4136 | e: frank.strachan@edwincoe.com

Edwin Coe LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership, registered in England & Wales (No.OC326366). The Firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of members of the LLP is available for inspection at our registered office address: 2 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London, WC2A 3TH. “Partner” denotes a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with the equivalent standing. This guide concerns the law in England and Wales and is intended for general guidance purposes only. It is essential to take specific legal advice before taking any action.

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