Zurich Made to Pay Damages for Wrong Tax Advice

The High Court has found Zurich Assurance Ltd, and others, liable for bad inheritance tax (IHT) advice given to Mrs Lenderink-Woods. She had married a Dutch naval captain in WWII and not lived in the UK since 1948.
In bringing her claim she very impressively she gave video-link evidence aged 96. In finding against Zurich the Judge noted Zurich’s own media relations manager saying, when the Claimant was then aged 92, that :-
“The media would find it inexcusable that we have not been able to clarify the tax position much earlier – if we had we would have been able to avoid all of this and not had to make an offer which we later withdrew. The fact that she is so elderly certainly does not go in our favour!”
But still Zurich fought the case vigorously and were subject to criticism from the Court in taking a bad and losing point that a third party helping Mrs Lenderinck-Woods somehow debarred her claim. Zurich even talked of seeking costs from the third party, about which the Court noted:-
“Such behaviour has a chilling effect on those who advise clients who are pursuing claims against large providers of financial services.”
The Court found as a fact that the Claimant had made out her case of negligent tax advice. In assessing damages, at £223,000, the Court made an incisive point on its function in deciding quantum :-
“My task is to assess (not to compute) damages for the loss caused to Mrs Lenderink-Woods. I do not aim for spurious precision. All the work of the experts (for which I am grateful) enables me to reach broad conclusions even if I cannot myself undertake calculations.”
The case is reported as Lenderink-Woods v Zurich Assurance [2016] EWHC 3287 (Ch), Dec/16.

Eamon McNicholas
Tax Barrister, Accountant
http://www.EamonMcNicholas.com

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HMRC Warning on Phising Scams

HMRC have put out another guide on recognising phising scam emails or texts.
It has useful sections on: email scam addresses, phishing emails, request for personal information, bogus callers or recorded messages and requests to complete tax forms online.
Examples are given of how to identify different types of scam.
The guide “Phishing emails and bogus contact: HM Revenue and Customs examples” is available from HMRC’s parts of the Gov.UK website.

Eamon McNicholas
Tax Barrister, Accountant
http://www.EamonMcNicholas.com

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Ireland and Brexit

The Central Statistical Office (CSO) in Ireland has published a paper “Brexit: Ireland and the UK in numbers”. A special concern for Ireland is the impact on customs duties, VAT and other tax revenues and what happens to the free-movement Ireland-UK border, which is decades older that the EU’s.
The CSO figures show that for 2015 13.9% of goods exported went to the UK and 25.7% of imports came from the UK.
For the same year visitors from the UK accounted for 41% of all overseas trips to Ireland by non-residents and accounted for 23% (€971m) of total visitor expenditure (excluding fares).
Good to see some solid data on the impact of Brexit, as against the Remoaners project fear #2 and spin.

Eamon McNicholas
Tax Barrister, Accountant
http://www.EamonMcNicholas.com

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VAT Information Sheet 02/17 – Romanian VAT

VAT Information Sheet 02/17 has been published by HMRC.
It is a reminder that the rate of VAT in Romania went down from 20% to 19% as from 1st January this year.

Eamon McNicholas
Tax Barrister, Accountant
http://www.EamonMcNicholas.com

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HMRC and New Years Honours

A number of HMRC’s top civil servants gained in the New Years honours list. The same as senior government staff from most departments.
But Tim Farron, leader of the Lib Dem party has criticised the gongs for HMRC as a reward for failure, in a year when the average taxpayer “has been made to wait for hours on the phone on hold. It’s a farce.”
That is a little harsh as honours for the civil service are a well established career perk and should not be judged by performance measures applied to others.

Eamon McNicholas
Tax Barrister, Accountant
http://www.EamonMcNicholas.com

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UK Ambassador to EU Makes Way for Brexit

The UK ambassador, representative, to the EU has stepped down early, to make way for their replacement, and deputy, before the invoking of article 50 and the ensuing negotiations.
In leaving they also said that the UK has opportunities from leaving and taking a new path, which was very upbeat.
This was a sensible and very generous decision by the ex-ambassador to make way for a new team to take Brexit forward.

Eamon McNicholas
Tax Barrister, Accountant
http://www.EamonMcNicholas.com

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Disagreeing with an HMRC Tax Decision

HMRC have updated their guidance leaflet, HMRC1, on what to do if you disagree with one of their tax decisions. Both indirect taxes like VAT and direct such as income or inheritance tax.
It is a handy initial guide outlining the statutory review and appeal process to the First-Tier Tax Tribunal.

Eamon McNicholas
Tax Barrister, Accountant
http://www.EamonMcNicholas.com

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