An HMRC enquiry or investigation can have a serious effect on the operation of a business or on the life of an individual. It can take up time and resources and also have onerous financial and reputational implications. Our nationally recognised tax litigation lawyers are sensitive to these issues and strive to accomplish the most practical and cost-effective results possible.

Our experienced team, which includes qualified mediators and solicitors with rights of audience in the higher courts, advises both corporate clients and high-net-worth individuals on tax disputes, often involving international issues. We manage any procedure from initial enquiries to fraud investigations, and any court action from small tribunal cases to high value litigation at all levels.

Our team is experienced in negotiating with HMRC and adopting ADR as a method of resolving tax disputes in order to avoid litigation wherever our clients wish to do so; but we provide robust litigation support to our clients when the circumstances demand it.

Having a thorough understanding of the market and HMRC's litigation and settlement strategy means our team of specialist tax compliance lawyers can take a strategic approach to a range of complex tax compliance issues.

We have a detailed understanding of the tax compliance needs of our clients, which span companies, corporate bodies, partnerships, individuals and trustees. We advise these clients on complex cross-border compliance issues and work with professionals in other jurisdictions to provide a complete and efficient service. In addition, we often act for tax advisers in defending claims and act as specialist consultants to other advisers.

Areas of focus

Our expertise in tax disputes includes the following:

  • Civil enquiries and investigations under COP9.
  • Fraud investigations.
  • Alternative dispute resolution, including facilitation and mediation.
  • Losses resulting from negligent advice.
  • Negligence actions against tax advisers.
  • Representing clients in tax tribunals and arranging for representations in the higher courts.
  • Discovery assessments.
  • Misdeclaration and other penalty appeals.
  • Responding to accelerated payment notices and follower notices.
  • Judicial review. 

Acting for a SIPP provider in connection with a dispute with HMRC concerning in specie contributions.

Successfully bringing to an end a long-running dispute between HMRC and a corporate taxpayer, achieving dismissal of the claim and securing compensation from HMRC for the way in which the taxpayer had been treated.

Successfully concluding a multi-million pound dispute with HMRC over a s425 ITEPA planning arrangement in which HMRC withdrew its case entirely.

Advising in relation to judicial review of HMRC's refusal to grant relief under s392 ITEPA in relation to a FURBS from which the client had since been entirely excluded from benefit.

Taking a case to the Special Commissioners which has since become a leading authority in determining when HMRC can issue discovery assessments and which has been cited in various subsequent cases.

Acting for a wealthy non-domiciled client in a detailed enquiry by HMRC into split-contract arrangements.

Acting for traders in VAT / MTIC fraud appeals at Tribunal.

Negotiating with HMRC on behalf of a group of individuals sold a potentially fraudulent SDLT scheme by a firm of solicitors and simultaneously seeking compensation from the Solicitors' Regulation Authority.

Acting for accountants being sued for negligence in connection with the tax planning scheme that went awry.

Successfully mediating a dispute relating to the valuation of goodwill associated with the acquisition of a hotel.

Leading on successful negotiations with HMRC in respect of their interpretation of the gift aid rules and regulations and their application to a national charity.

Successfully negotiating a deal with HMRC arising from personal use of a motor cruiser.

Advice and advocacy to a Gold Bullion dealer served with a data gathering notice.

Advising a UK company with a French VAT debt being enforced by HMRC under the mutual assistance directive.

Meet the team
Headshot John Barnett

John Barnett Partner

  • Head of Partnerships
  • Private Client Services
  • Tax
Ian Carnochan

Ian Carnochan Partner

  • Tax
  • Corporate Tax
  • Real Estate Tax

Hilary Barclay Partner

  • Tax
  • Mergers and Acquisitions Tax
  • Tax Advice for Companies and Shareholders 
Justin Briggs

Justin Briggs Partner

  • Trust Disputes
  • Tax Negligence
  • Pension Disputes

Tax Disputes

High-end capability in dealing with a wide variety of tax-related issues. The breadth of their tax practice means the team can be used for a variety of tax related queries.

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