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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