Recent News & Events

Taxation of Directors and Employees Post the Supreme Court Decision in RFC 2012 Plc (“Rangers”) and the 2017 Finance Acts

An Afternoon Seminar at The Law Society’s Hall, London WC2A

Wednesday October 18th 2017

Chairman: Robert Venables Q.C.

Speakers: Robert Venables Q.C., Harriet Brown and Setu Kamal.

 All the speakers are members of Old Square Tax Chambers, Lincoln’s Inn, WC2A 3UE, 020 7242 2744,

Fees £450 + VAT (£90), total £540.

 Early Bird price for bookings made before September 11th £400 + VAT (£80), total £480.

For booking and Terms and Conditions please visit or contact


In RFC 2012 Plc v Advocate General for Scotland, the Supreme Court has held that everyone (including, until 2015, HMRC itself and its predecessors) had completely misconstrued the income tax acts, since the imposition of modern income tax in 1842, and by “purposive construction” has purported to impose unjust charges to tax on directors and employees.

Many appear to have misunderstood the precise effect of the decision and consider it to have a wider impact than it does, even if correct and binding precedent.

The seminar will consider the precise scope of the decision and in which situations it will, even if binding precedent, and will not apply.

The seminar will also consider the profound changes made to the “Disguised Remuneration” rules made by Finance Act 2017 and the future changes proposed to be included in Finance Act No 2 2017 (as per the draft clauses published on July 13th with any amendments made in the passage of the autumn Finance Bill).

The seminar will further consider the current benefit in kind rules in the light of Finance Act 2017 changes.


13.30 Registration

14.00 Chairman’s Introduction followed by:

The Rangers Decision – Robert Venables Q.C.

What does the case decide? Is it internally consistent? Is it binding Precedent – It is compatible with other House of Lords and Supreme Court authorities? Even if binding, in what limited situations will the decision apply?

14.45 Benefits in Kind Post Finance Act 2017 – Harriet Brown

The Earnings Charge – ITEPA Part 3 BIK Charges Post Finance Act 2017 especially Employment-Related Loans (Chapter 7) and General Charge (Chapter 10) – BIK Charges Under ITEPA Part 7A (Disguised Remuneration)

15.25 Finance Act 2017 Changes to Disguised Remuneration – Robert Venables Q.C.

The additional heads of charge – New Perceived Anti-Avoidance Rules

16.05 Discussion Session with Refreshments

16.20 Finance (No 2) Act 2017 Retrospective Charge on April 5th 2019 – Setu Kamal

17.00 Panel Session and Questions to Speakers

17.30 Close of Seminar

For booking and Terms and Conditions please visit or contact

Taxation of Charities Online

The new 2017/18 edition of Taxation of Charities Online, by James Kessler QC, Etienne Wong and Mary Ashley, has been published on

Chambers HNW 2017′ rankings released

Chambers High Net Worth 2017

Old Square Tax Chambers are pleased to have been listed as a leading set for private client work in this year’s edition of Chambers High Net Worth.

The directory recognises Chambers’ work on “high profile and sophisticated tax cases” and notes that our barristers have “particular expertise in offshore trusts”.

Head of Chambers, James Kessler QC, is commended as “one of the top brains in his field” and Amanda Hardy QC is praised as “a standout silk in this area”.

The full report can be accessed here


Philip Simpson, QC, has successfully represented Findmypast in an appeal concerning VAT on the supply of online services.

Findmypast operate a website that contains a database of documents of genealogical interest. Customers can purchase credits and then use them to view documents on the website. If not used within 2 years of purchase, the credits expire.

The question arose as to whether VAT was due on amounts paid for credits that had expired. The Court of Session (Inner House) held that the supply in question was individual documents when viewed. When credits were purchased, it was not known which documents would be viewed, so the supply was not sufficiently precisely identified at that time to trigger a tax point. The credits did not count as face-value vouchers – they were simply an accounting tool between Findmypast and its customers to record how much customers still had available to spend. Accordingly, VAT was not due on credits that expired.

The decision can be found here.

Notes available following Current issues in SDLT and VAT Seminar

Following the Old Square Tax Chambers seminar held on Wednesday 13th September, the notes are now available at the links below:

SDLT Round-up for 2017 – Patrick Cannon

DOTAS: VAT – Etienne Wong

VAT, online sales and vouchers – Philip Simpson Q.C.

Free Seminar – Current issues in SDLT and VAT – 13 September 2017

Old Square Tax Chambers are hosting an afternoon seminar on 13 September 2017 where Philip Simpson Q.C., Patrick Cannon and Etienne Wong will be speaking on Current issues in SDLT and VAT.

The seminar is to be held from 4.00 pm to 6.15 pm in The Old Hall, Lincoln’s Inn and the timetable will be as follows:

4.00 – 4.15       Tea & Coffee

4.15 – 4.50      Patrick Cannon on SDLT Round-up for 2017 – Frosh and closure notices   The SDT and Mr Chan   Crest Nicholson: is it really a precedent?    Scots and Welsh LBTT and LTT    S77A guidance   Traps and opportunities with the additional 3% rate

4.50 – 5.25      Etienne Wong on DOTAS: VAT – what are “notifiable arrangements”?; retail supplies – splitting and value shifting; offshore supplies; insurance and finance; offshore supplies – “relevant business persons”; option to tax – disapplication    what constitutes a “tax advantage”?    what are (and are not) “notifiable proposals”?   who is (and is not) a “promoter”?    what happens with the VADR?

5.25 – 6.00      Philip Simpson Q.C. on VAT, online sales and vouchers Online transactions  EU law    Vouchers    Brexit issues

6.00 – 6.15      Question to the speakers followed by drinks

Drinks will be hosted immediately after the seminar at which you will have an opportunity to meet members of Old Square Tax Chambers.

The seminar is free of charge and will provide 2 hours of CPD.

Please let us know if you wish to attend by emailing and do feel free to forward this e-mail to any colleagues who might be interested in joining us.

Applications for Third Six Pupillage Invited

Old Square Tax Chambers is inviting applications for third six pupillage from candidates with experience in the commercial and/or chancery fields. The pupillage is offered with a view a tenancy at the end of the six months and will commence in October 2017.

Old Square Tax Chambers is a set specializing in revenue law and any applicant will ultimately be expected to develop their practice in this area. Prior experience is not necessary although a good grounding in general law and an interest revenue law is. Many of our existing tenants have come to Chambers without any prior experience in tax and have gone on to establish themselves in the area.

As we are recruiting from those without prior revenue law experience, the pupillage will largely be non-practicing. As a consequence it comes with an award of £25,000. Furthermore, if the successful applicant is offered tenancy, Chambers will guarantee earnings of £50,000 for the first year of practice.

Applications should be made by 1 September 2017 (or by 15 September 2017 if an early application is not practical) way of CV and covering letter to They should include information on the work they have experienced and undertaken in pupillage to date.

[Posted: 27 July 2017]

Taxation of Foreign Domiciliaries Online

The new 2017/18 edition of Taxation of Foreign Domiciliaries Online, by James Kessler QC, has been published on

[Posted: 06 September 2017]

Vacation Hours

Old Square Tax Chambers will be open between 9am and 6pm Monday to Thursday, and between 9am and 5:30pm on Fridays until 15th September.

Tax effective wills in plain English: can it be done?

James Kessler QC and Mary Ashley are speaking at a seminar on 6th September that will look at the challenge of drafting wills that:

  • Meet the testator’s wishes.
  • Maximise relief for testators under the new residential nil-rate band.
  • Are written in plain intelligible English.

Can one achieve all three objectives?  Or must we jettison the third?

The seminar will look at a variety of published precedents and assess their success.

To attend the seminar, please visit

[Posted: 12 July 2017]