Been too busy with Self Assessment returns to keep up with the news? Our pick of useful cases for accountants to discuss with their clients focused mainly on tax appeals by companies or their directors, we also have a selection of VAT, SDLT and customs duty appeals.

Salary in lieu of dividends did not qualify for CJRS 
In Bandstream Media and Corporate Communications Limited v HMRC [2024] TC09016, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that an employer could not base its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claims on a salary which was increased after 19 March 2020, in lieu of dividends. 

No Entrepreneurs’ Relief on trust share disposal
In The Trustees of the Peter Buckley Settlement v HMRC [2024] TC09022, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that Entrepreneurs’ Relief was not available on a trust’s share disposal. The company was not the qualifying beneficiary’s 'personal company' for the required period.

A cautionary tale of credit cards & loan relationships
In Mr James Keighley (1) Primeur Limited v HMRC [2024] TC9023, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that a director’s personal use of his company’s credit card resulted in six years worth of tax assessments and penalties. Worse still, a write-off of an intercompany loan was ruled to have a disallowable purpose.

Artificial fragmentation: no SEIS
In The Legend of the Golden Temple & Others v HMRC [2023] TC08999 ten companies created by a common director were disqualified from the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), for failing to meet the risk-to-capital condition, the trading condition and the shares requirement. Creating ten companies to perform the work of one evidenced a Disqualifying Arrangement too.

No going concern: no RDEC
In MW High Tech Projects UK Limited v HMRC [2023] TC09011 a company was unable to make a valid claim for a Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) as it had failed to prepare accounts on the 'going concern' basis. 

Stamp Duty Land Tax

£20m property was residential for SDLT despite railway vent
In 39 Fitzjohn's Avenue Limited v HMRC [2024] TC9021, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that a London property which had a railway tunnel vent in its garden and workshop in its basement was a dwelling and not a mixed-use property for Stamp Duty Land Tax purposes.


Refer-a-friend scheme discounts VATable 
In Simple Energy Limited v HMRC [2023] TC08995, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that credits awarded to customers under a refer-a-friend scheme amounted to non-monetary consideration for the supply of energy. Output VAT was due on the value of the credits.

Freemason membership fees subject to VAT 
In United Grand Lodge of England v HMRC [2023] UKUT 00307, the Upper Tribunal (UT) found that membership fees charged to Freemasons were not exempt from VAT. 

Walkers ‘Sensations Poppadoms’ were standard rated 
In Walkers Snack Foods Limited v HMRC [2024] TC09024, the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) found that Walkers ‘Sensations Poppadoms’ were standard rated for VAT. They were made from potato, and potato starch, and were similar to potato crisps.

Excise Duties

Are they human? Tax Tribunal rules on Zombies
The First Tier Tribunal has had the engaging task of deciding whether imported action figures from Game of Thrones, the Marvel comics and the Living Dead are human, non-human, statuettes or just plastic toys, in an appeal against underpayment of Customs Duty.