VAT is a complex tax which affects most businesses and organisations and in times of economic uncertainty, tax (including VAT) becomes a priority for developed economies and emerging markets alike. With VAT stories becoming increasingly common in the mainstream media and the UK under increasing scrutiny from the European Commission (EC), mistakes can be costly.
Our VAT and indirect tax specialists advise clients on a wide range of domestic and international VAT issues, customs duties and other indirect taxes. We focus on providing commercial, technically astute and practical advice in plain English.
We have a strong focus on the European landscape which provides the context within which the UK’s VAT system exists. This often enables us to provide expert legal insights into the VAT treatment of our clients’ transactions. Increasingly, we are asked to advise on customs duties. Simple administrative errors in relation to customs duties can give rise to significant penalties for importers of goods into the EU. We adopt a strategic and practical approach to negotiating with HMRC on such issues.
Our lawyers also have a particular focus on real estate VAT and have had considerable success in dealing with HMRC on real estate VAT issues including the transfer of a business as a going concern (TOGC), option to tax and anti-avoidance measures.
We help a wide range of organisations, such as investment banks, large multinationals, pension funds and investors. For example we are currently running a ground breaking litigation challenging HMRC’s view that e-books are subject to 20% VAT. This litigation will explore cutting edge issues, including the principle of fiscal neutrality.
Our work in this area includes:
Advising a large multinational pharmaceutical company, on customs duty and VAT.
Advised Gateshead College in a dispute with HMRC relating to historic VAT planning involving a capital goods scheme.
Advising Tesco on VAT issues arising out of its £5bn on-going programme of releasing value from its UK property portfolio.
We continue to advise a leading travel provider on a range of EU, UK and VAT issues.
Advising non-UK investors on the sale of a high value London building to a partially exempt company.
Advised an EU company on Tanzanian VAT treatment the supplies of goods to Tanzania.