Laura practises in all areas of taxation, acting in the course of disputes and litigation and offering planning and compliance advice. Her direct tax practice covers personal and corporate taxes and her indirect tax practice includes VAT, SDLT and landfill tax. She has in recent years appeared in a number of high-profile VAT, pensions and employment remuneration cases, both for the taxpayer and HMRC (as a member of the A Panel). She also has particular experience in litigating tax issues within financial services and insurance, for direct and indirect tax.
Examples of her published cases and ongoing matters can be seen under the tabs covering specific practice areas.
Laura is qualified to accept Public Access instructions.
Corporate and business tax
“Very responsive, extremely good with clients, and invariably on top of the facts and legal issues.” “She is very pragmatic and prompt when responding.”
Laura has acted in a number of significant cases dealing business tax issues, ranging from owner-managed businesses to large corporations, and also provides advice on these matters. She has appeared in a number of cases concerning oil-related activities. Recent cases include:
BlueCrest Capital Management (UK) LLP v HMRC – Laura, together with Richard Vallat KC and Calypso Blaj, appeared in the first case to consider the application of the salaried members legislation (sections 863A-G ITTOIA 2005). The Tribunal considered the application of Conditions A (disguised salary) and B (significant influence) to members of an LLP carrying out investment management activities and providing back office services.
Dunsby v HMRC – Laura appeared in the First-tier and Upper Tribunals in this case concerning a scheme designed to allow shareholders in private companies to extract profits without paying income tax, by taking advantage of the settlements legislation. The taxpayer’s appeal was dismissed. Laura is also appearing, led by Aparna Nathan KC, in a case concerning a similar scheme (Clipperton & Lloyd), which is awaiting a hearing in the Upper Tribunal.
Medical Defence Union v HMRC – Laura, led by James Henderson, appeared in the First-tier and Upper Tribunals in this case concerning the application of mutual trading principles in the context of medical indemnity insurance.
HMRC v Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management – Laura appeared in the First-tier and Upper Tribunals in this income tax dispute. The issue was whether loyalty bonus payments were annual payments, such that there was an obligation to deduct tax.
“Laura’s work is very thorough, meticulous and detailed.”
Laura appears regularly in cases dealing with remuneration issues, dealing with both income tax and NICs. She has particular expertise in litigating tax disputes relating to pensions. Recent matters include:
K5K Limited v HMRC – Laura, led by Adam Tolley KC, appeared in the first case to consider the application of the agency workers legislation (section 44 ITEPA).
Charles Tyrwhitt LLP v HMRC – Laura appeared in the Upper Tribunal in this NIC case concerning bonuses paid to employees who subsequently became members of an LLP.
Lancashire & Others v HMRC – Laura, led by John Tallon KC, is appearing in this ongoing litigation concerning a scheme to enable individuals to receive income free of income tax and NICs. The matter is currently under appeal to the Upper Tribunal.
Root 2 Tax Limited v HMRC – Laura, led by Richard Vallat KC, is appearing in this litigation concerning a scheme to enable remuneration to be paid free of tax and NICs.
Pensions: having acted in a number of pensions cases (including Danvers v HMRC and Sippchoice v HMRC), Laura is preparing to litigate two significant pensions tax matters this year.
“Incredibly clear, good at setting expectations and good at outlining the next steps. She is very good technically, but also very good at spotting those things that lots of people wouldn’t think of.”
Laura regularly provides private client tax advice, as well as acting in litigation on personal tax. She has particular expertise on residence and domicile, as well as issues arising from trusts. Recent matters include:
HMRC v Wilkes – Laura appeared in the Upper Tribunal in this case concerning the validity of discovery assessments in the context of the High Income Child Benefit Charge. The matter is now being appealed to the Court of Appeal.
Laura has advised taxpayers in relation to a numerous disputes with HMRC, including:
- Valuation issues for inheritance tax purposes
- Business property relief
- Gifts with reservation of benefit
- Residential property ownership structures
VAT and indirect taxes
“A great legal mind. Takes a commercial approach to tax problems.”
Laura regularly acts in high-profile VAT cases and provides advice both in the context of disputes and planning in indirect tax. Her recent matters have covered financial services, insurance, pensions, education, charities and gaming. Recent cases include:
BlackRock Investment Management – Laura, led by Andrew Hitchmough KC, appeared for BlackRock in the UK Tribunals and the Court of Justice. This was a VAT case concerning the investment management exemption, which raised interesting questions on the apportionment of consideration in the context of exemptions.
Rank Group PLC v HMRC – Laura, led by Andrew Hitchmough KC, appeared for Rank Group in the UK Tribunals and Court of Appeal. This VAT case concerned section 80 repayment claims and the impact of the earlier Birmingham Hippodrome litigation.
Brockenhurst College v HMRC – Laura represented Brockenhurst College in the Upper Tribunal and the Court of Justice in this case concerning the scope of the education exemption in VAT.
Laura is also acting in a number of ongoing disputes (solo and led), covering matters from financial services to charities.
The Chambers Guide
Tax: Indirect Tax
Ranking: Band 3
“She is very responsive, extremely good with clients, and invariably on top of the facts and legal issues.” “She is very pragmatic and prompt when responding.” (2022)
“She is terrifyingly clever and happy to get into the details.” “I am always impressed by how collegial she is.” (2021)
Tax: Private Client
Ranking: Band 3
“She’s really user-friendly, highly responsive and someone who knows her stuff.” “Her work is very thorough, meticulous and detailed.” (2022)
“She is incredibly clear, good at setting expectations and good at outlining the next steps. She is very good technically, but also very good at spotting those things that lots of people wouldn’t think of.” (2021)
“She’s very pragmatic and practical, lovely to deal with, very approachable and she takes the complexities out so you can really discuss things with her.” (2020)
The Legal 500
Ranking: Leading Juniors, Tier 3
‘A great legal mind. Takes a commercial approach to tax problems.’ (2021)
A rising junior with wide experience of advising the taxpayer and the Revenue in indirect tax cases. She is particularly noted for her expertise in VAT, and has handled a number of cases involving the exemption for special investment funds. “Very able and comprehensive in her approach.” “She does a very, very good job.” (2020)
‘A great junior on complex matters, makes a strong contribution to the technical analysis of cases.’ (2019)
Private Client: Personal Tax
Ranking: Leading Juniors, Tier 3
‘Quickness of response and the ability to explain complex legislation in plain language are her main strengths.’ (2021)
Has particular expertise in offshore trust and family partnership structuring and domicile matters. “An excellent junior for complex tax cases who can hold her own arguing with QCs.” “Incredibly user-friendly, she’s the type of person you can pick the phone up and have a chat to.” (2020)
‘Puts things into plain English.’ (2019)
Chambers and Partners High Net Worth
Tax: Private Client
Ranking: Band 3
Laura Poots is often instructed by HMRC. She is described as “absolutely brilliant” by a fellow barrister, who continues: “She is incredibly clear, good at setting expectations and good at outlining the next steps. I think she is very good technically, but she is also very good at spotting those things that lots of people wouldn’t think of.” Another source reports: “She is very efficient and effective; she is great to be against and a sensible opponent.” (2020)
Laura Poots is often instructed by HMRC, and has been appointed to the Treasury B panel for this work. She also takes instructions on the taxpayer side, and instructing solicitors in private practice consider her to be “incredibly user-friendly” and “an excellent junior – one of our go-to juniors for complex tax.” (2019)
Revenue Bar Association
London Chancery and Commercial Bar Association
VAT Practitioners Group
Career & education
September 2020: Junior Counsel to the Crown – A Panel
September 2017: Junior Counsel to the Crown – B Panel
March 2013: Junior Counsel to the Crown – C Panel
October 2007: Called, Middle Temple
2006-2007: Bar Vocational Course, Inns of Court Law School (Very competent)
2002-2006: St John’s College, Oxford (First Class BA Hons, Jurisprudence)