BT Pension Trustees: possible extension of remedies for breach of EU law

10 February 2017

Originally printed in Tax Journal on 10 February 2017.

The recent opinion of AG Wathelet in BT Pension Trustees (Case C-628/15) provides an interesting and direct answer to the question: what is a taxpayer’s remedy for a breach of EU law where it has not paid any tax at all?

In BT Pension Trustees, Advocate General Wathelet challenges the established dichotomy adopted in the characterisation of claims in breach of EU law. He finds a simpler way to address a claim by an exempt taxpayer seeking a credit denied in breach of EU law than the usual distinction between a claim for the repayment of tax and the more restricted claim for damages to compensate for indirect losses. In his view, the primacy of EU law acts to remove the discriminatory provisions pure and simple.


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Increased Investment in Personal Tax Compliance in the UK (Published in Thought Leaders 4 Private Client)

Advances in technology and increased international fiscal co-operation have made global personal tax compliance initiatives pop up in abundance in recent years. To compound the issue, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the corresponding economic fallout prompted domestic governments to increase transparency in relation to investments held by wealthy foreign individuals (with a focus on oligarchs).

In the UK, in the context of the cost-of-living crisis, public opinion certainly seems to be in favour of increased accountability for high-net-worth individuals (eg, on 9 October 2022, 63% of Britons surveyed thought that “the rich are not paying enough and their taxes should be increased”).1

HMRC is one of the most sophisticated tax collection authorities in the world and the department is making significant investments in technology in the field of compliance work; they are well placed to take advantage of new international efforts to increase tax compliance, particularly considering the already extensive network of 130 bilateral tax treaties in the UK (the largest in the world).2 The UK was also a founding member of the OECD’s Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) forum.

This article discusses the main developments in support of the increased focus on international transparency and personal tax compliance in the UK. There are other international fiscal initiatives, particularly in the field of corporate taxation, but such initiatives are beyond the scope of this article.

It should be noted that a somewhat piecemeal approach, with constant tinkering makes compliance difficult for the taxpayer and is often criticised for lacking the certainty that a stable tax system needs to thrive.

This article was first published with ThoughtLeaders4 Private Client Magazine

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