Ingenious LLPs v HMRC – Permission to appeal partially granted

09 March 2020
Author: JHA

This is a long-running dispute between HMRC and investors over tax liabilities related to film and game investment schemes promoted by the Ingenious group of LLPs. Having lost the appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal, the LLPs appealed to the Upper Tribunal on eight grounds. HMRC cross-appealed on two grounds.

The hearing at the Upper Tribunal centred on, among other points, whether the LLPs were trading with a view to a profit. If not, HMRC argued, they were not entitled to offset losses amounting to over £1.6bn against their other taxable income. By judgment released on 26 July 2019, the LLPs’ appeal was dismissed and HMRC’s cross-appeal was allowed.

The LLPs sought permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal on seven grounds. Permission has now been granted to appeal only on Grounds 1 and 3, namely, whether the partnerships were carrying on business “with a view to profit” and whether the tribunal was wrong to conclude that the partnerships were not trading.

Interestingly the Court has refused permission to appeal on the issue of whether the expenses were income or capital in nature. The refusal of this ground appears to render the hearing of Grounds 1 &3 pointless. If it remains that the expenditure incurred by the LLPs was of a capital rather than revenue nature then no deduction could be made whatever the outcome of the appeal

This, however, is not the end of the road as Ingenious can renew its application for permission on the rejected grounds at an oral hearing. If that oral hearing for permission occurs at the same time as the main appeal hearing (which is the usual practice) then the appeal will extend to consideration of the dismissed issues anyway.

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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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