FII group litigation ruling on tax on foreign sourced dividends

06 December 2016

Originally published in Tax Journal on 9 December 2016.

The Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in The Test Claimants in the FII Group Litigation v HMRC on 24 November 2016, finding largely in favour of the taxpayers. The method of computing double tax relief on EU sourced dividends for the period from 1973 to 1999 therefore remains as established by Henderson J. HMRC again raised its various ‘restitutionary’ defences as to why it should not have to repay the unlawful tax, but these were rejected. The court notably allowed the claimants’ cross-appeal regarding the date of discovery, extending the date from which the six-year limitation period began to run from 2001 to 12 December 2006 and bringing all claims in the GLO within time.


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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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