ExxonMobil: FTT Decision Released

09 March 2020
Author: JHA

The First-Tier Tribunal (“FTT”) decision in Esso Exploration and Production UK Limited and others v HMRC, which relates to pre-2006 claims for Cross Border Group Relief, has now been released.

In its decision, the FTT did ultimately reject the claims but, whilst doing so it concluded that nothing in the case law of the CJEU challenges the Supreme Court ruling in Marks & Spencer Plc v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2013] UKSC 30 that the “no possibilities” test should be applied as at the date of the claim.

The claim concerned an application for group relief of a UK company from an EU sister company joined by a common US parent. The claimants sought to rely on the non-discrimination article of the USA-UK Double Tax Convention on the grounds that group relief would have been available if the common parent was UK resident. The Tribunal, however, found that group relief provisions did not engage the NDA in DTCs.

Finally, in applying the “no possibilities” test, the Tribunal adopted a very strict test which does not appear to accord with the far more practical and liberal approach taken in recent EU cases (see for example C-607/17 Skatteverket v Memira Holding AB and C-608/17 Skatteverket v Holmen AB).

Should you be interested in the application of this decision to your claims for Cross Border Relief, please contact any member of our team who will be able to advise further.

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