Michael Thomas advises and litigates in relation to all areas of the UK tax code. His practice covers business tax, private client work and VAT. He has a particular interest in property tax and has been involved in some of the UK’s largest real estate transactions and development projects. It has been said that “he has a strong tax record of success in tax litigation” and is “ahead of the game when it comes to property taxation”. Michael sits on the tax committee of The Country Landowners Association and the VAT committee of The British Property Federation.
Areas where he has recently been or is frequently instructed to advise include the following:
Site acquisitions for national housebuilders, especially in relation to VAT and SDLT. Including major developments at 9 Elms, other prime London locations and large regional sites;
Transactions in land rules;
Incorporation of residential property investment businesses;
Land pooling and other forms of collaboration agreement (prior to the sale of land for development);
Acquisitions of interests in partnership vehicles and related issues (including by financiers and on the buying out of private equity);
Ability to take advantage of double tax treaties, interest deductibility and general structuring advice (transactions in land rules, DPT etc) especially in relation to development projects;
Availability of business property relief and agricultural property relief for inheritance tax;
VAT advice including the availability of zero-rating for buildings and disputed TOGC treatment;
Advising on individuals’ domicile status;
De-enveloping of residential properties in light of the recent private client changes; and
Tax treatment of shareholder debt.
Recent matters include litigating a General Anti-Avoidance Rule and contesting a disputed TOGC. In addition to tax appeals, his practice includes acting in and defending professional negligence actions, litigating tax deed claims and acting in civil fraud investigations under Code of Practice 9. In addition to the reported cases below (acting as sole or leading counsel) he has also acted for a FTSE 100 company in a VAT Fleming reclaim resulting in 7-figure recovery, a VAT appeal concerning debt negotiation services where the taxpayer was successful prior to trial and cases relating to aspects of inheritance tax business property relief.