Jonathan Bremner QC

Called: 2005

QC: 2018

Jonathan Bremner QC

Jonathan advises on the major UK taxes and acts in tax appeals and tax related litigation before the specialist tribunals and the higher courts.  He has substantial experience of complex and high value litigation (acting both alone and as part of a team). His advisory practice has an emphasis on business and entrepreneurial tax issues.

Tax Junior of the year (Chambers Bar Awards 2015)

Recommendations: Legal 500, Chambers and Partners

Listed in Tax Journal’s “40 under 40” survey for 2015

Directory comments include:

  • He is very, very bright.  He is thoughtful, impressive and he shares things well.” (Chambers and Partners 2017, Tax)
  • “A go-to junior for heavy-duty cases with significant technical content” (Legal 500 2016, Tax-Corporate)
  • Brilliant both as an adviser and as an advocate” (Chambers and Partners 2016, Tax)

Recent highlights have included:

  • Acting in complex, high value proceedings for restitution of corporation tax levied in breach of EU law, including the FII Group Litigation (heard by the Court of Appeal over ten days in June 2016) (with Graham Aaronson QC and Tom Beazley QC); The Prudential Assurance Company Ltd v HMRC [2016] STC 1798 (CA) (with Graham Aaronson QC and Tom Beazley QC); Six Continents Ltd v HMRC [2015] EWHC 2884 (Ch) and [2016] EWHC 2426 (Ch); and Evonik Degussa UK Ltd v HMRC [2016] EWHC 86 (Ch) (with Graham Aaronson QC).
  • Appearing before the Supreme Court in Airtours Holidays Transport Ltd v HMRC [2016] STC 1509 (SC) (with David Scorey QC).
  • Appearing before the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C-646/15 Trustees of the P Panayi Accumulation & Maintenance Settlements (October 2016) (appointment of non-resident trustees; compatibility of exit tax with EU law).
  • Appearing before the Upper Tribunal in HMRC v Invicta Foods Ltd [2016] UKUT 1 (TCC), HMRC v MG Rover Group Limited [2016] UKUT 434 (TCC) (with Andrew Hitchmough QC) and St Andrew’s College Bradfield v HMRC [2016] UKUT 491 (TCC).
  • Career

    February 2018 – QC
    September 2016 – Appointed Junior Counsel to the Crown – “A” panel
    March 2014 – Appointed Junior Counsel to the Crown – “B” panel
    March 2011 – Appointed Junior Counsel to the Crown – “C” panel
    Called: 2005 (Inner Temple)

  • Recent cases

    Supreme Court

    Airtours Holidays Transport Ltd v HMRC [2016] STC 1509 (SC) (with David Scorey QC) (also acted in CA, UT and FTT) – VAT; input tax recovery; tripartite arrangements

    Court of Appeal

    HMRC v Test Claimants in the FII Group Litigation (June 2016) (with Graham Aaronson QC and Tom Beazley QC) – corporate tax; EU law; remedies

    HMRC v The Prudential Assurance Company [2016] EWCA Civ 376, [2016] STC 1798 (CA) (with Graham Aaronson QC and Tom Beazley QC) – corporate tax; EU law; remedies

    Leeds City Council v HMRC [2015] EWCA Civ 1293 (with Julian Ghosh QC) (also acted in UT) – VAT; limitation periods

    Isle of Wight Council v HMRC
    [2015] EWCA Civ 1303, [2016] STC 2152 (with Julian Ghosh QC) (also acted in UT and FTT) – VAT; special legal regime/distortion of competition

    Mehjoo v Harben Barker [2014] EWCA Civ 358, [2014] STC 1470 (also acted in High Court) (with Roger Stewart QC) – professional negligence

    Aspinalls Club Ltd v HMRC [2014] STC 602 (also acted in UT and FTT) (with Andrew Hitchmough QC) – gaming duty; banker’s profits

    HMRC v London Clubs Management Ltd
     [2012] STC 388 (also acted in UT) (with Andrew Hitchmough) – VAT; partial exemption

    Brunel Motor Co Ltd v HMRC [2009] STC 1146 (also acted in High Court, UT and FTT) (with David Milne QC) – VAT; credit notes

    Midlands Co-operative Society v HMRC [2008] STC 1803 (with Kevin Prosser QC) – VAT; assignment of s 80 claim

    High Court

    Six Continents Limited v HMRC [2016] EWHC 2426 (Ch) – corporate tax; EU law; remedies (also acted in related interim payment application: [2015] EWHC 2884 (Ch))

    Evonik Degussa UK Holdings Ltd v HMRC [2016] EWHC 86 (Ch) (with Graham Aaronson QC) – corporate tax; EU law; summary judgment

    The Prudential Assurance Company v HMRC [2015] EWHC 118 (Ch) – corporate tax; EU law; remedies; Mr Justice Henderson noted that: “Prudential was represented at the hearing by junior counsel alone, Mr Jonathan Bremner, who performed his task with conspicuous ability” (Judgment para 7).

    Test Claimants in the FII Group Litigation v HMRC – [2014] EWHC 4302 (Ch), [2015] STC 1471 (with Graham Aaronson QC and Tom Beazley QC) – corporate tax; EU law; remedies (and see also [2013] EWHC 3757 (Ch) (pleadings); [2015] EWHC 2883 (Ch) (costs))

    Kuoni Travel Ltd v Boyle [2013] EWHC 877 (QB) – claim under tax covenant

    Upper Tribunal

    St Andrews College Bradfield v HMRC [2016] UKUT 491 (TCC) – VAT, sporting exemption

    HMRC v MG Rover Group Ltd [2016] UKUT 434 (TCC) (with Andrew Hitchmough QC) – VAT; grouping

    HMRC v Invicta Foods Ltd [2016] UKUT 1 (TCC) (also acted in FTT) – customs duty

    Manduca v HMRC [2015] UKUT 262 (TCC), [2015] STC 2002 – income tax; commission payment

    Market & Opinion Research International Ltd v HMRC [2015] UKUT 12 (TCC), [2015] STC1205 – Tribunal’s jurisdiction in relation to costs

    HMRC v Newey (t/a Ocean Finance) [2015] UKUT 300 (TCC), [2015] STC 2419 (with Julian Ghosh QC) – VAT; abuse of rights (on appeal to the Court of Appeal)

    HMRC v Murray Group and others [2014] UKUT 292 (TCC), [2015] STC 1 (also acted in FTT) (with Andrew Thornhill QC) – PAYE/NIC; employee benefit trust (on appeal to the Supreme Court)

    Butlers Ship Stores v HMRC
    [2013] UKUT 564 (TCC), [2014] STC 732 (with Julian Ghosh QC) – excise duty; proportionality/legal certainty

    Enterprise Inns plc v HMRC [2012] UKUT 240 (TCC), [2012] STC 2313 (with Andrew Hitchmough) – VAT; attribution of consideration)

    JD Wetherspoon plc v HMRC [2012] UKUT 42 (TCC), [2012] STC 1450 (with Julian Ghosh QC) – CT; capital allowances

    HMRC v Moorbury Ltd [2010] UKUT 360 (TCC), [2010] STC 2715 (also acted in FTT) (with Andrew Hitchmough) – VAT; abuse of rights)

    First-tier Tribunal (or equivalent)

    Irish Bank Resolution Corp v HMRC (November 2016, FTT) (with David Milne QC) – corporate tax; permanent establishments; double taxation agreements

    Farnborough Airport Properties Company v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 431 (TC), [2016] SFTD 826 – corporate tax; group relief (on appeal to the Upper Tribunal)

    King and others v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 409 (TC) – income tax; partnerships, (on appeal to the Upper Tribunal)

    Grindley and others v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 384 (TC) – procedure; strike out

    French Education Property Trust v HMRC [2015] UKFTT 620 (TC) – VAT; economic activity

    Clavis Liberty v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 253 (TC), [2016] SFTD 558 (with Andrew Thornhill QC) – income tax; tax avoidance (on appeal to the UT)

    Gemsupa Ltd v HMRC [2015] UKFTT 97 (TC), [2015] SFTD 447 (with Julian Ghosh QC) – corporate tax; chargeable gains groups

    A-Dec Dental UK Ltd v HMRC [2014] UKFTT 351 (TCC) – customs duty

    MG Rover Group Ltd v HMRC [2014] SFTD 1218 (with Roderick Cordara QC) – VAT; grouping/reclaiming over-declared VAT

    Goals Soccer Centres plc v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 576 (TC) (with Julian Ghosh QC) – VAT; supply classification

    Boyer Allan Investment Services Ltd v HMRC [2013] SFTD 73 (with Kevin Prosser QC) – CT; employee benefit trusts; prevailing practice

    Chain Telecommunications plc v HMRC [2012] UKFTT 330 (TC) – VAT; input tax recovery; third party consideration

    McLaughlin v HMRC [2012] SFTD 1003 (with Kevin Prosser QC) – capital gains tax

    Swallow v HMRC [2010] UKFTT 473 (TC) – related civil/criminal proceedings – tribunal procedure

    The British Association for Shooting and Conservation Ltd v HMRC [2010] SFTD 993 (with Andrew Hitchmough) – VAT; sporting exemption

    West Country Vending Ltd v HMRC [2010] UKFTT 124 (TC) (with Andrew Hitchmough) – VAT; zero rating

    Sempra Metals Ltd v HMRC [2008] STC (SCD) 1062 (with Andrew Thornhill QC) – CT/PAYE/NIC; employee benefit trusts

    Camden Motors Ltd v HMRC [2008] UKVAT V20674 (with Andrew Hitchmough) – VAT; partial exemption

    Barclays Bank Plc v HMRC [2008] UKVAT V20528 (with Andrew Hitchmough) – VAT; financial services exemption

    Court of Justice of the European Union

    Trustees of the P Panayi Accumulation & Maintenance Settlements (Case C-646/15) (October 2016) – capital gains tax; appointment of non-resident trustees; exit charge; compatibility with EU law

    HMRC v Newey (trading as Ocean Finance) (Case C-653/11) [2013] STC 2432 (with Julian Ghosh QC) – VAT; abuse of rights

  • Examples of recent work

    Business/corporate tax

    Acting:

    • in substantial claims for restitution of tax levied in breach of EU law including the FII Group Litigation (with Graham Aaronson QC and Tom Beazley QC); The Prudential Assurance Company Ltd v HMRC (CFC and Dividend GLO) (variously with Graham Aaronson QC and Tom Beazley QC and alone); Six Continents Ltd v HMRC (alone)
    • in disputes concerning employee remuneration structures established by a wide variety of employers including a leading City metal trading company (Sempra Metals v HMRC (see above)), hedge funds, professional services firms and Rangers FC (Murray Group v HMRC (see above))
    • for AstraZeneca (with Graham Aaronson QC) in a substantial dispute concerning the UK transfer pricing and CFC rules (settled shortly before the substantive hearing, listed for 14 weeks)
    • in judicial review proceedings brought on behalf of a property investment fund
    • in numerous disputes concerning substantial claims for loss relief (e.g. film finance arrangements, research and development finance arrangements etc)
    • in tax-related litigation and arbitration proceedings (including High Court restitutionary claims, tax warranty/indemnity claims, tax-related professional negligence claims, and Companies Court proceedings)

    Advising in relation to tax issues concerning:

    • Business structuring
    • Corporate debt
    • Transfer pricing (including group treasury arrangements and intra-group management charges)
    • Compensation payments
    • Employee remuneration
    • Company reconstructions (including clearance applications)
    • VAT and other indirect taxes

    Acting:

    • in disputes concerning stamp duty land tax, in particular in relation to section 75A FA 2003
    • in substantial High Court claims seeking restitution of overpaid VAT from HMRC
    • in disputes concerning duties (including customs duties, excise duties, gaming duty and remote gaming duty)
    • for a retail group in a dispute concerning market value directions made under VATA Sch 6 and related partial exemption issues (settled following mediation)

    Advising in relation to:

    • Single/multiple supply and supply classification issues
    • Place of supply issues (including online businesses and electronically supplied services)
    • Input tax recovery/partial exemption issues

    Personal Tax

    • Acting in disputes concerning:
    • Arrangements intended to trigger capital losses
    • Sideways loss relief
    • Business premises renovation allowances

    Residence and/or domicile issues

    • The Enterprise Investment Scheme
    • Venture Capital Trusts
    • Enforcement issues and insolvency
    • Tax-related professional negligence claims (e.g. Mehjoo v Harben Barker (see above))

    Advising in relation to tax issues concerning:

    • Remuneration/benefits in kind
    • Payments of compensation
    • Land development projects
    • Entrepreneurs’ relief
    • Business property relief
  • Other experience

    Before joining Chambers, Jonathan undertook twelve months’ pupillage at leading commercial set One Essex Court (2005/2006).

    Jonathan was a member of the Secretariat to the Study Group (led by Graham Aaronson QC) which reported in November 2011 on the potential enactment of a General Anti-Avoidance Rule for the UK tax code. The Study Group’s recommendations were accepted by the Chancellor in the March 2012 Budget and enacted in Finance Act 2013.

  • Memberships

    Chancery Bar Association
    Revenue Bar Association
    VAT Practitioners Group

  • Education

    Hertford College, University of Oxford – BA (First Class), BCL (Distinction)
    University of Paris II (Panthéon-Assas) – Certificat Supérieur de Droit Français (Mention Bien)
    BPP Law School – Bar Vocational Course (Very Competent)

  • Languages

    French (including legal French)

  • The Chambers Guide says...

    Tax: Corporate
    Ranking: New Silk

    Boasts an impressive track record of acting in heavyweight litigation. He is often instructed in major employee benefit trust cases and group litigations. He also advises in relation to reconstruction, transfer pricing and other matters.
    “Superb both in terms of technical analysis and as an advocate.” “He is thorough and quick, and he works well in a team.” (2019)

    . . . “A brilliant senior junior, equally at home advising on a technical argument or in the courtroom.” “He has a wonderful calm manner which can lead the client or the judge through very complex facts and law with brevity and clarity.” (2018)

    Leading junior with an impressive track record of acting in heavyweight litigation. He is often instructed in major employee benefit trust cases and group litigations.”He is very, very bright. He is thoughtful, impressive, engaging and he shares things well. He always brings interesting things to the table.” (2017)

    Tax: Indirect
    Ranking: New Silk

    Enjoys a rapidly growing practice in the area of indirect tax with extensive experience representing taxpayers and the Revenue. He is often entrusted with complex VAT and customs cases, appearing before the FTT, the Upper Tribunal, the Supreme Court and the CJEU.
    “His technical ability is very strong, his client-handling skills are excellent and he is commercially focused.” (2019)

    He frequently appears unled across from QCs. “He is very bright, he works very hard and he is a nice chap to deal with.” “He is very able and has a low-key style of advocacy.” (2018)

    Considered a very able junior by market sources, he enjoys a rapidly growing practice in the area of indirect tax with extensive experience representing taxpayers and the Revenue. He is often entrusted with complex VAT and customs cases, appearing before the Supreme Court and the Upper Tribunal. “He is very bright, able and personable.” “He’s very personable and certainly, in light of correspondence with him, he has an acute and forensic intelligence. He’s good on points of detail.” (2017)

  • The Legal 500 says...

    Tax: VAT
    Ranking: 2018 Silk, Tier 1

    ‘He is extremely clever, has a deep knowledge and understanding of tax.’ (2018)

    ‘One of the leading juniors at the Bar for high-stakes litigation.’ (2017)

    ‘Thorough, versatile and hardworking’ (2016)

    Tax: Corporate
    Ranking: 2018 Silk, Tier 1

    ‘Unruffled when arguing multi-billion pound points.’ (2018)

    ‘Often instructed without a leader and perhaps an early candidate for silk.’ (2017)

    ‘A go-to junior for heavy-duty cases with significant technical content’ (2016)

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