Contentious Tax | Fieldfisher
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Contentious Tax

We are a leading team of contentious tax specialists encompassing both solicitors and barristers and advising in respect of all taxes and duties.

Notable Cases and Work:

  •  Sunrise Medical Limited & Electric Mobility Limited v HMRC – FTT trial in April 2024 - Fieldfisher won the first round of litigation on the customs classification of mobility scooters in November 2020. The decision was that scooters are 'carriages for the disabled' and liable for customs duty at 0%. That litigation involved the FTT, CJEU, Upper Tribunal, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. HMRC now say that an EU regulation means that mobility scooters imported more recently attract higher customs duty.
  • Exchequer Solutions Limited v HMRC – UT decision in January 2024 - this is the leading case in a current wave of litigation on the tax treatment of expenses by umbrella companies. Umbrella companies employ very large numbers of temporary workers across construction, transport and hospitality. Involving thousands of workers as part of the underlying fact-pattern, this appeal involved a key issue of principle in employment tax disputes: what level of employer obligation creates an overarching contract of employment? Commercially, this has significant bearing on the temporary work sector.
  • The Eclipse Settlement Opportunity – announced in September 2021, eight years of persistent hard work and innovation by the Fieldfisher team caused HMRC to issue the Eclipse Settlement, accepting Fieldfisher's submission that the Eclipse transaction was 'a nothing' for tax purposes.  HMRC gave up its claims to approximately £1.6 billion of tax and interest from 715 individuals as a result.  Fieldfisher has spent the last two and a half years working with HMRC to implement the settlement for 376 of the Eclipse members.  

    Most of our matters are settled without recourse to the courts and remain confidential. Recent examples of such work, and current matters, include: 

    • advising on and conducting tax-related professional negligence claims;
    • advising businesses and individuals in relation to IR35;
    • advising businesses and individuals in relation to disclosures to HMRC of offshore tax irregularities;
    • advising businesses in relation to HMRC sectoral investigations into employment issues;
    • advising SRA and FCA regulated individuals in relation to COP8 and COP9 investigations into their personal tax affairs;
    • appeals against HMRC's imposition of tax charges in respect of 'avoidance schemes';
    • advising in respect of Accelerated Payment Notices and Follower Notices;
    • assisting businesses during HMRC searches under warrant at their offices; and
    • assisting (including at interviews under caution) individuals who have been accused of cheating the public revenue.

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