Jeremy Woolf

"Very helpful and approachable, 100% thorough and totally dedicated."

Chambers & Partners
  • Call: 1986

Overview

Jeremy has been praised as a “Very bright and a highly capable performer”. His advisory and contentious practice covers a wide area of both direct and indirect tax issues, including transactions in land, transactions in securities, transfers of assets abroad, inheritance tax business property relief, the taxation of onshore and offshore trusts, EBTs, personal  and corporate residence, domicile, taxation of mixed member partnerships, HMRC investigations, VAT. Contentious work includes contractual, negligence, judicial review and variation of trust act and rectification proceedings and contractual disputes raising tax issues. He is chair of the indirect tax committee of CFE Tax Advisors Europe and is one of its representatives on the European Commission VAT Expert Group. He has been awarded a certificate of merit by the CIOT.

Jeremy is chair of the CIOT European and Human Rights working-group. Issues connected to tax and human rights have therefore been a long term interest of his. He was instructed in one of the first cases to address the issue of whether civil penalties should be considered criminal for the purposes of the European Convention of Human Rights and made a related application in King v United Kingdom to the European Court of Human Rights, which held that there had been a breach of the Convention on account of undue delays. He also acted in a judicial review seeking a declaration of incompatibility in relation to retrospective SDLT Legislation in R (on the application of APVCO 19 Ltd) v HM Treasury (CA).

Jeremy is qualified to accept Public Access instructions.

A copy of Jeremy's privacy notice can be found here.

Corporate tax

Providing advice and acting in disputes relating to:

  • Incorporations and corporate restructuring and sales, including the SDLT and VAT consequences of such transactions. He has recently been acting for clients who have been in dispute with HMRC about the application of the transaction in securities provisions and entrepreneurs’ relief. He acted in Marriot -v- Lane a leading case on when a business ceased.;
  • Property development transactions, including SDLT and VAT issues and the transactions in land provisions;
  • Partnership structures, including the rules relating to mixed partnerships and partnerships with solely corporate members, including SDLT and VAT issues connected to such structures;
  • The taxation of payments made to retired partners. He was recently acting for a retired partner who was contending that he should not be taxed on payments made by the firm following his retirement because the sums represented profits of the continuing firm. HMRC conceded the claims because the closure notice was defectively drafted;
  • Employee incentives, including the agency provisions, IR35 and the managed services legislation, share schemes and issues connected to both registered and unapproved pension schemes and the use of employee benefit trusts. This work has extended to being instructed on professional negligence actions in relation to such planning and advising on claims between employers and employees relating to the payment of tax. His contentious work including acting in Talentcore -v-HMRC one of the leading cases on the agency provisions until the law was subsequently changed;
  • Advising on pensions issues and pension tax disputes. This included appearing in the Supreme Court in John Mander Pension Trustees Ltd v HMRC on the validity of assessment made on the restrospective loss of approval.

Personal and private client

Jeremy regularly advises on inheritance tax and capital gains tax issues relating to lifetime gifts as well as tax planning on death. This includes drafting trusts, wills and deeds of appointment and providing advice about issues arising from the use of trusts and the availability of business property and agricultural property relief. He also advises in relation to planning on the family home. He was counsel in one of the leading reservation of benefit cases, IRC v Eversden. He also advises and has acted in disputes about individuals’ residence and domicile status and structuring investments by non-domiciled individuals in the United Kingdom.

Contentious work has recently included acting for individuals who have undertaken home loan schemes and other inheritance tax planning and successfully acting in disputes about the beneficial ownership of funds in bank accounts and the availability of the normal expenditure out of income exemption and tax charges on a farm whose ownership was disputed and disputes about the availability of business property relief.

He has also provided advice in relation to offshore trust and corporate structures. As chair of the CIOT EU and human right working group Jeremy has an interest in EU law. While it remains relevant, his work has therefore included considering the compatibility of charges relates to offshore structures with the EU fundamental treaty freedoms and the availability of motive defences to income tax and capital gains tax charges. He has also more generally advised about the tax consequences of proposed reconstructions of offshore groups, including in the context of matrimonial proceedings.

He has also advised on issues connected to taxation of pensions including in a cross-border context.

He has also advised on the tax implications of lease extensions and acquisitions of freehold interests subject to leases owned by the current tenants.

Stamp taxes

Contentious work has included acting on disputes about multiple dwellings relief and whether sales of property should be considered mixed use or residential and the extent to which goodwill on the sale of a business should be subject to SDLT. He has also acted for solicitors whose clients have claimed that they have received negligent advice on these issues. He has also provided advice about the SDLT and stamp duty consequences of proposed transactions including issues connected to corporate and partnership reorganisations and business incorporations and more generally on the SDLT consequences of acquiring property portfolios. He also acted in  R (on the application of APVCO 19 Ltd) v HM Treasury (CA) that sought to challenge retrospective SDLT legislation on the basis that it breached the European Convention of Human Rights.

VAT and customs and excise duties

Jeremy has appeared in three references in the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, Customs and Excise -v- Madgett & Baldwin, My Travel plc (formerly Airtours plc) -v- Commissioners of Customs and Excise and Abbey National -v- Commissioners of Customs and Excise. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) indirect tax committee and chairs the indirect tax committee of CFE Tax Advisors Europe. Until September 2022 he was also one of CFE Tax Advisors Europe’s representatives on the European Commission VAT expert group. Contentious work has included:

  • Disputes about VAT and customs duties on aircraft parts;
  • MTIC disputes. This has included assisting CFE Tax Advisors Europe in drafting representations to the European Court of Human Rights to intervene in the case of Italmoda Mariano Previti and Others v. the Netherlands;
  • Successfully acting for a client in dispute with HMRC about VAT charges on cross-border services;
  • Successfully acting for a client in dispute with HMRC on the recovery of input tax on free legal services;
  • Successfully acted for a school that was in dispute with HMRC about the charging of VAT on the construction of a new annex;
  • advising on contractual disputes about whether VAT can be charged by the vendor or is due from the purchaser.

He has also provided advice on the availability of exemptions relating to financial services and the VAT consequences of property transactions, including options to tax and the VAT consequences of using crypto-currencies and e-tokens and making claims to recover overpaid VAT and the VAT treatment of commercial penalty payments.

 

Significant cases

VAT

Abbey National -v- Commissioners of Customs and Excise (European Court of Justice): the scope of the exemption in Article 13B(d)(6) of the Sixth Directive for the management of special investment funds

My Travel plc (formerly Airtours plc) -v- Commissioners of Customs and Excise (European Court of Justice): tour operator’s margin scheme and apportionment of consideration

Commissioners of Customs and Excise -v- Pegasus Birds (CA): validity of best judgment assessment

Customs and Excise -v- Madgett & Baldwin (European Court of Justice): tour operator’s margin scheme and apportionment of consideration

Computeach International Limited: unjust enrichment

DenmanCollege: supplies of construction and services

Rasul v HMRC: validity of assessments

 

Investigations and human rights

King -v- Walden: whether civil penalties are criminal for Human Rights purposes and issue estoppel on tax appeals

King -v- United Kingdom: application to the European Court of Human Rights: whether civil penalties are criminal and whether delay resulted in a breach of article 6 of the Convention

R (on the application of APVCO 19 Ltd) v HM Treasury (CA): compatibility of retrospective legislation with the European Court of Human Rights

 

Income tax, capital gains tax, corporation tax, stamp duty and national insurance

Dunsten -v- Young Austen & Young: meaning of reorganisation

CIR -v- Burton: approval of share scheme

Pepper -v- Hart: use of Hansard/benefit in kind charge

Marriot -v- Lane: retirement relief

Edmunds -v- Coleman: new profession

R -v- IRC ex p Roux: removal of approval from pension scheme 3 of 6

HMRC -v- Household Estates: power to make further assessments

Talentcore -v-HMRC: agency workers

John Mander Pension Trustees Ltd v HMRC: validity of assessment made on retrospective loss of approval of a pension scheme

Castledine v HMRC: entrepreneurs’ relief

 

Inheritance tax

IRC -v- Eversden (CA): reservation of benefit  on spouse exemptgifts

Annand v IRC: ownership of funds in bank accounts

Directory quotes

The Chambers Guide

Tax: Corporate
Ranking: Band 1

“Very helpful and approachable, and gets to the point quickly. 100% thorough and totally dedicated.” (2022)

“Very bright and a highly capable performer.”  (2021)

“Very thorough.” “Technically strong and very user-friendly.” (2020)

The Legal 500

Tax: VAT
Ranking: Leading Junior, Tier 3

‘His knowledge and practical experience in both UK and offshore matters are extensive and highly valuable.’ (2021)

‘In court he is a softly spoken yet heavyweight advocate, who always impresses with his sound, erudite no-nonsense submissions.’ (2020)

‘He is admired for his knowledge of international tax issues.’ (2019)

Tax: Corporate
Ranking: Leading Junior, Tier 1

‘His knowledge and practical experience in both UK and offshore matters are extensive and highly valuable.’ (2021)

‘In court he is a softly spoken yet heavyweight advocate, who always impresses with his sound, erudite no-nonsense submissions.’ (2020)

‘He is an absolute delight to work with.’ (2019)

Tax- Private Client: Personal Tax
Ranking: Leading Junior, Tier 2

‘Very easy to work with; available to respond quickly to queries.’ (2021)

‘A highly recommended junior.’ (2020)

‘Highly rated for SDLT.’ (2019)

 

Publications

Zamir and Woolf: The Declaratory Judgment (2nd, 3rd and 4th Edition)

DeSmith, Woolf & Jowell: Judicial Review of Administrative Action (5th Edition) (contributor of Chapter 23 on Revenue Law)

Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol 12(2) Customs and Excise (joint contributor)

DeVoil Indirect Tax Service (contributor)

Simon’s Direct Tax Service (contributor)

Civil Appeals (contributor to chapter on tax appeals)

Potter & Monroe (contributor)

Memberships

Revenue Bar Association

CIOT indirect tax sub-committee

Chairman: CIOT EU and Human Rights sub-committee

Chair of the indirect tax sub-committee of CFE Tax Advisors Europe

CFE Tax Advisors Europe’s alternate representative on the European Commission’s VAT Expert Group

The CIOT’s alternate representative on the European Commission’s Expert Group on removing tax problems facing individuals who are active across borders within the EU

VAT Practitioners Group

London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association

Chancery Bar Association

Stamp Taxes Practitioners Group

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