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 advised on 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”, is “ahead of the game when it comes to property taxation” and “the go-to man for stamp duty land tax.” Michael sits on the tax committee of The Country Landowners Association.
Areas where Michael 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 real estate 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; Stamp duty land tax and
Tax treatment of shareholder debt.
Mostly acting for taxpayers against HMRC. When litigating Michael is mindful that the best result for a client rarely involves a contested hearing. He has a strong track record of achieving favourable outcomes without a trial including in relation to VAT (where a 7- figure repayment was received by a FTSE 100 company) and on employment taxes (where HMRC rescinded an assessment of several hundred thousand pounds following an internal review). Michael has significant experience of litigating the application of anti-avoidance rules.
His litigation practice also includes defending professional negligence actions, ligating tax deed claims and acting in civil fraud investigations under code of practice 9.