David practises in a wide range of tax law areas and related fields:

  • Corporation tax
  • VAT
  • Customs tariffs and UK duties
  • Tax procedural law, in particular discovery assessments and costs
  • Personal tax planning
  • Employment related tax
  • Public law (in particular judicial review of HMRC)
  • Professional Negligence (both general and tax related)
  • Profession Discipline (both general and tax related)

David is qualified to accept Public Access instructions and is also willing to act under Joint Advisory Scheme and Special Advocacy Scheme .

Career

March 2013 – Appointed Junior Counsel to the Crown – “B” panel

March 2009 – Appointed Junior Counsel to the Crown – “C” panel

2008: Tenant, Pump Court Tax Chambers

2005-2008: Tenant, 4 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn

Called: 2004 (Lincoln’s Inn)

2001-2002: UBS Warburg: corporate finance analyst

Recent cases

Corporation Tax

A substantial amount of David’s practice relates to corporation tax, including specific areas such as the loan relationships regime, group relief, double tax relief, intangible fixed assets, tonnage tax and the taxation of insurance companies. Recent cases include:

  • Loss Relief GLO v HMRC [2013] EWHC 205 (Ch): led by David Ewart QC and Maya Lester on behalf of HMRC in a case which was a continuation of the Autologic litigation and whether a stay should be lifted to permit a reference to the CJEU.
  • Iliffe News and Media Limited v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 696 (TC): led by Philip Jones QC on behalf of HMRC in a case concerning the application of the transitional rules under para 118 of Schedule 29 to Finance Act 2002 (intangible fixed assets regime) to an internal assignment and licence back of newspaper mastheads.
  • Re a shipping company (2012): acted with Kevin Prosser QC for the taxpayer in a dispute with HMRC as to what types of offshore vessel qualified for the tonnage tax regime.
  • Finnforest UK Ltd v HMRC [2011] UKFTT 342 (TC): led by Richard Coleman on behalf of HMRC in a case concerning closure notice application in relation to enquiries on claims for cross-border loss relief (following M&S v Halsey) and what information HMRC were entitled to ask for concerning the para 55 condition.
  • Legal & General Assurance Society v HMRC [2010] UKUT B19 (TCC): led by David Ewart QC on behalf of HMRC in a dispute on the interpretation of Finance Act 1989 s 83A and whether certain amounts contained within LGAS’ regulatory returns were to be brought into account for the purpose of its corporation tax computation.
  • Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada v HMRC [2010] EWCA Civ 394: led by David Ewart QC on behalf of HMRC. The case concerned whether carried forward Case I losses could be used for the purpose of the apportioning profits between policyholders and shareholders under ICTA 1988 s 393 for the I-E basis.
  • Gripple Ltd v HMRC [2010] EWHC 1609: acted for HMRC in a dispute concerning entitlements to R&D relief for staffing costs under Sch 20 to FA 2000.
  • Interfish Ltd v HMRC [2010] UKFTT 219 (TC): led by Andrew Thornhill QC on behalf of the taxpayer in a case concerning the deductibility of sponsorship payments.
  • Philips Electronics UK Ltd v HMRC [2009] UKFTT 226(TC): led by David Ewart QC on behalf of HMRC in a dispute concerning whether the UK’s rules on consortium relief in cross border situations (ICTA 1988 ss 403D and 406(2)) amounted to a restriction on the right of establishment.

VAT

David advises on and litigates VAT issues on a frequent basis. He is particularly interested in the rules concerning VAT and online business, including the place of supply for electronically supplied services. Recent cases include:

  • Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust Ltd v HMRC [2013] UKUT 57 (TC): led by David Milne QC on behalf of the taxpayer on an appeal concerning a Fleming claim for repayment of output tax. The issues in the appeal were (i) whether EU law recognized the concept of an “abusive” claim for repayment of tax and (ii) the proper interpretation and application of VATA 1994 s 81(3A) in circumstances where HMRC were otherwise out of time to assess overclaimed input tax for a different period than that which was relevant for the taxpayer’s output tax claim.
  • Gemini Riteway Scaffolding v HMRC [2012] UKFTT: acted for HMRC in a dispute concerning liability for underdeclaration of tax on a self-billed invoice.
  • R (on the application of the States of Guernsey) v HM Treasury & HMRC [2012] EWHC 718 (Admin): led by Sam Grodzinski QC on behalf of the States of Guernsey in seeking a declaration that a draft clause in the Finance Bill 2012 removing low value consignment relief for goods from the Channel Islands was incompatible with EU law.
  • Sean Collins v HMRC [2012] UKFTT (TC): acted for HMRC in a dispute concerning the recovery of input tax on cars for a self-drive hire business.
  • John Wilkins (Motor Engineers) Ltd & others v HMRC [2009] UKUT 175 (TCC): led by Laurence Rabinowitz QC and James Henderson on behalf of the fifth appellant, Lookers, in the first dispute heard at first instance by the Upper Tribunal concerning whether a trader was entitled to compound interest under section 78 of the VAT Act 1994 in relation to repayments of VAT by HMRC.

Customs & Duties

David acts for both taxpayers and HMRC on a broad range of issues concerning customs and duties. This ranges from product classification disputes to litigation in relation to the Excise Goods Holdings Movement Regulations 2010.

  • Europlus Trading Ltd v HMRC [2013] UKUT 108 (TCC): Appeared for the taxpayer in relation to an appeal concerning drawback for beer duty. The case concerned whether HMRC were prevented as a matter of public, EU or ECHR law from retrospectively altering the criteria on which they permitted such drawback claims and the jurisdiction of the FTT.
  • Queenswood Natural Foods Limited v HMRC [2011] UKFTT 767 (TC): Appeared for HMRC in an appeal of a post-clearance demand for customs duties in relation to unrefined cane sugar where taxpayer contended that freight forwarder who made declarations on its behalf was acting without authority and also relied on Article 220(2)(b) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92.

Tax procedural law

David has been involved many cases where issues of procedural, rather than substantive, tax law have been in issue. The most common issues which arise are (i) the validity of discovery assessments (ii) closure notice applications (iii) tax postponement/hardship applications and (iv) category allocation/costs application.

Recent cases in this area are:

  • Acted for the taxpayer in case in dispute as to whether relevant information for TMA 1970 s 29(5) purposes included that contained in a DOTAS submission (HMRC conceded following Charlton).
  • Zanaco v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 518 (TC): acted for HMRC in resisting an application for costs on the basis of unreasonable conduct following HMRC’s withdrawal from the appeal.
  • Sanderson v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 207 (TC): acted for HMRC in a case concerning test in s 29(5) and whether the taxpayer or his adviser had engaged in negligent conduct
  • Trustees of the Bessie Taube Discretionary Settlement Trust v HMRC [2010] UKFTT 473 (TC): led by David Ewart QC on behalf of the HMRC. The case concerned a discovery assessment issue of whether information supplied in the trustee’s return would be deemed to be included in the return of the life tenant (held not).

Personal and employment related taxes

In terms of advisory work in this area, David is mainly focused on the taxation of non-UK domiciled individuals working in the financial services industry in the UK and abroad, particularly on questions of residency, split contracts and bonus/deferred remuneration. In terms of litigation, he has experience of acting in a wide variety of disputes:

  • Vaccine Research LP v HMRC [2013] UK FTT 73 (TC): led by Kevin Prosser QC on behalf of HMRC in relation to a partnership scheme which sought to obtain R&D relief under the Capital Allowances Act 2001 in relation to research and development into various vaccination projects. The case raised issues on trading, sideways loss relief and circular financing.
  • FS Commercial v Gangmasters Licensing Authority; led by Sam Grodzinski QC on behalf of the GLA in relation to an appeal against refusal to grant a licence on the grounds that the proposed remuneration model, the so-called “Pay Day by Pay Day” relief model, was incompatible with NMW, PAYE and NIC law.
  • Samarkand Film Partnership No. 3 & Proteus Partnership No.1 & Ors v HMRC [2011] UKFTT 610 (TC): led by John Tallon QC on behalf of HMRC in relation to appeals by two film partnership and their constituent partners. The case concerned many issues relating to tax avoidance schemes using film partnerships including whether the partnerships could be said to be trading and whether the conditions of sideways loss relief were satisfied.
  • HMRC v Mayes [2011] EWCA Civ 407: led by David Ewart QC on behalf of HMRC. The case concerned whether an avoidance scheme which sought to take advantage of deficiency relief under the Chargeable Events regime could be challenged under the Ramsay principle.
  • Nigel Grogan v HMRC [2010] UKUT 416 (TCC): led by Andrew Thornhill QC on behalf of the taxpayer in a dispute concerning whether a contribution by a company to a QUEST was caught by the transactions in securities legislation. The Tribunal also decided the correct interpretation of the transitional provisions as between ICTA 1988 s 703 and ITA 2007 s 698.
  • Castle Construction (Chesterfield) Ltd v HMRC [2009] STC (SCD) 97: appeared on behalf of the taxpayer (a building contractor) in a 5 day hearing concerning whether certain individuals the taxpayer engaged (foremen, bricklayers, labourers and scaffolders) were employed or self employed.

Public law

David is frequently asked to advise both HMRC and taxpayers concerning the public law implications of actions by either HMRC or other public bodies. Significant recent cases include:

  • R (Bampton Property Group Ltd) v King [2012] EWCA Civ 1744: led by Sam Grodzinski QC on behalf of HMRC in defending a decision to refuse a late claim for group relief. The issues raised included the duty to give reasons, legitimate expectation and the meaning of “tax avoidance” in SP5/01
  • R (States of Guernsey and Jersey) v HM Treasury & HMRC [2012] EWHC 718 (Admin): led by Sam Grodzinski QC on behalf of the States of Guernsey in seeking a declaration that a draft clause in the Finance Bill 2012 removing low value consignment relief for goods from the Channel Islands was incompatible with EU law.

Professional Negligence

Professional negligence disputes, particularly tax-related, remain a significant part of David’s practice. David acts for both claimant and defendant clients. Recently David has advised and acted on professional negligence claims in the following areas:

  • Partnership based tax avoidance schemes
  • The chargeable event regime for insurance contracts (particularly the consequences of partial surrenders)
  • Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Relief
  • Tax Residence
  • Offshore tax planning
  • Trusts & Estates taxation (including advising on applications for relief based on mistake and Hastings-Bass)
  • R&D Relief for corporations
  • Negligent handling of tax litigation

Professional Regulatory/Discipline

Allied with David’s professional negligence practice is experience in Professional Regulation/Discipline. In particular, David has acted in the following three cases which went to full tribunal hearings:

  • Taxation Disciplinary Board v A Firm (October 2011): Successfully defended a firm of accountants against a charge brought by the TDB on the grounds of inadequate professional service in relation to advice on double tax relief for a non-UK domiciled individual.
  • AIDB v (1) PwC (2) David Donnelly: instructed with Ben Hubble on behalf of a finance director facing disciplinary proceedings in relation to the collapse of Mayflower Corporation Plc. Successfully defended the proceedings and recovered £0.5 million in costs against the regulator.
  • Institute of Actuaries v Ranson, Headdon and Nash: instructed with Ben Hubble on behalf of the Institute. Succeeded in establishing charges in relation to the management of Equitable Life

Memberships

Revenue Bar Association

Professional Negligence Bar Association

Education

Oct 2003 – Jun 2004: Inns of Court School of Law, Bar Vocational Course
(Very Competent)

Awarded Lord Denning Scholarship by Lincoln’s Inn

Oct 2002 – Jun 2003: City University, Diploma in Law (Commendation)

Awarded Lord Haldane Scholarship by Lincoln’s Inn

Sep 1998 – Jun 2001: Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge BA Classics (1st)

Honorary Senior Scholar and Senior Exhibitioner

Henry Arthur Thomas prize for Classics

The Chambers Guide says...

Corporate Tax
Rank: Leading Junior

He advises on a broad range of matters including cross-border dividends and double taxation agreements. He has niche expertise in advising insurers on tax-related professional negligence matters. “A diligent, bright and client-friendly barrister whose sector knowledge is second to none.” “Technically astute, very bright and very easy to work with.” (2018)

Often appears unled against silks in cases for the Revenue, and also has a solid taxpayer-side practice. He has niche expertise in advising insurers on tax-related professional negligence matters.” Easy to deal with, he gets into court and fights for his client.” (2017)

Has a thriving practice advising insurers’ panel firms on tax-related issues of negligence as well as dealing with a range of complex issues including intra-group repo schemes, cross-border dividends and double tax treaty considerations. “An excellent, crisp advocate with great attention to detail who is able to cut through complex problems with incisive reasoning.” (2016)

Professional Discipline
Rank: Notable Practitioners

Offers experience and knowledge within tax law. In the professional discipline context he regularly acts against accountants and tax professionals. (2014)

David Yates of Pump Court Tax Chambers is, given where he is stabled, ideally placed to advise on and advocate in disciplinary actions concerning accountants and tax professionals. He is “exceptionally intelligent” and operates at a high level, which belies his relative youth (2012)

Professional Negligence
Rank: Leading Juniors

Has a niche specialism in tax and finance-focused professional negligence claims, which is greatly enhanced by his former career as a corporate financial analyst. He has advised on a wide range of financial claims relating to film finance schemes and offshore trusts, as well as faulty tax, accountancy and legal advice. He is often sought out by defendant insurers. “A diligent, bright and client-friendly barrister whose sector knowledge is second to none.” “Has an absolute command of the most complex technical issues and provides top-drawer service with style.” (2018)

Has a niche specialism in tax and finance-focused professional negligence claims, which is greatly enhanced by his former career as a corporate financial analyst. He has advised on a wide range of financial claims relating to film finance schemes and offshore trusts, as well as faulty tax, accountancy and legal advice.”With an absolute command of the most complex technical issues, and a matched ability to distil them for those less familiar, David provides a top-drawer service with style.” (2017)

Demonstrates unique skills in all kinds of professional negligence matters relating to the financial services industry. Particular areas of strength include cases where professionals have advised on corporate tax and VAT. “He combines his mastery of tax law with pragmatism. Good at trial, easy to work with and great with the clients”. (2016)

The Legal 500 says...

Tax: Corporate & VAT
Rankings: Corporate-Leading Junior (2017) VAT-Leading Junior (2017)

Incisive in his analysis and concise in his advocacy.’ (2017)

‘Commercially astute, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of tax law.’ (2017)

‘His legal analysis and advocacy are concise, incisive and persuasive’ (2016)

‘He has the rare skill of being both a good advocate and an advisor too’ (2016)

‘A formidably bright and tenacious advocate’ (2015)

‘Highly accomplished, well informed and a delight to work with’ (2015)

Tax- Private Client: Personal Tax
Rankings: Leading Junior (2017)

‘He gets to the core of the problem quickly and gives sensible, strategic advice.’ (2017)

He is able to really get to the nub of the issue’ (2016)

Professional Negligence
Ranking: Leading Juniors (2017)

‘Fantastic and has a strong technical ability.’ (2017)

‘Extremely well regarded’ (2016)

‘He has a first-class brain and is able to clearly explain issues to lay clients’ (2015)

 

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