Transactions in securities – where are we now?

31 May 2016
Author: Ray McCann

Originally printed in Business Tax Voice in May 2016


Even by today’s standards when anti-avoidance legislation seems to be more and more radical, the Transactions in Securities rules (TIS) were widely seen as condemning tax avoidance transactions to history with some early judicial comment describing them as making tax avoidance no longer possible. As is now clear, this was true only so far as the tax avoidance was within their scope and over the intervening years the Revenue found that the scope of these provisions was very limited indeed. So much so that in the cases of Kleinwort Benson, Sema Group Pension fund and Laird Group, arrangements that the Revenue could reasonably believe were fairly within the cross hairs of the TIS rules escaped. Thus it is clear that where they did apply their impact was severe, so much so that even fifty years on no other provision operates quite like them, but they did not apply very often.

Ray McCann takes a look at the history of the TIS rules and considers the impact of the Tax Law rewrite programme and the 2016 changes.

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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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