Philip Simpson, Q.C.

Philip Simpson, Q.C.
Philip Simpson, Q.C. Philip Simpson, Q.C.

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Philip Simpson took silk in Scotland in 2014, and  is a CTA-qualified tax advocate and barrister, specialising in all areas of tax law.
Philip is ranked for tax by both Chambers UK and the Legal 500:
Chambers UK (2017)
"encyclopaedic knowledge of tax law"
Legal 500 (2017)
"Incredibly bright; a major tax specialist"

Privacy Notice of Philip Simpson


Appointed QC (Scotland) 2014

Called to both the Scottish and English bars: 2001

Visiting lecturer in tax law, University of Aberdeen: 2012 - date

Standing Junior to the Department of Work and Pensions: 2012 - 2015

Traineeship with Dickson Minto, spending two years doing M&A work

Legal Assistant to the Lord President before devilling to become an advocate

Regular papers on tax topics

Recent Matters

Character World Limited v. HMRC [2018] UKFTT 456 (TC) (Case concerning whether slankets (items made out of fleece material, in the shape of blankets but having sleeves) attracted zero-rating on the basis that they were clothing designed for young children. It was agreed between the parties that the size made them suitable for young children (as did the design, which was of various well-known cartoon and other characters). The question was whether they were ‘designed as clothing’). The First-tier Tribunal agreed that slankets were designed to be worn, and accordingly that they were to be zero-rated.) Glasgow School of Art v. HMRC [2018] UKFTT 276 (TC) (The case concerned whether the construction of a new building (the Reid Building) for the Glasgow School of Art and the refurbishment of another building (the Assembly Building) constituted separate supplies, and whether the lease the School of Art granted to the Students’ Association counted as economic activity, despite a low rent. The Tribunal held that the Assembly and the Reid Buildings were a single building, because of one fire door that linked the two. In any event, the features of the single construction contract that covered both sets of works meant that there was a single supply. The low rent meant that the lease to the Students’ Association was not in itself economic activity, but part of the overall educational activity of the School of Art.)
SiBCAS LTD V. HMRC [2018] CSIH 49 (VAT liability of temporary school accommodation. On appeal from the Upper Tribunal (which had found in HMRC’s favour), the Court of Session concluded that having regard to the nature of Sibcas’ business (the manufacture and hire of accommodation units) and the terms of the hire in the particular case, the supply was not the letting of moveable property. It was therefore standard-rated. This makes it significantly easier for Sibcas to operate the VAT treatment of its business.)
Dundas Heritable Limited v. HMRC [2018] UKFTT 244 (TC) (The taxpayer company had filed tax returns for two years late, more than two years after the end of the accounting periods in question. The returns included claims for capital allowances. At the time the returns were lodged, the capital allowance claims were out of time. But HMRC opened enquiries into the returns. Where an enquiry has been opened into a corporation tax return, the time limit for making capital allowances claims is one month after the end of the enquiry. The question for the FTT was whether the enquiry meant that the claims were in time. The FTT held that it did. The legislation was clear, and excluded enquiries into certain returns (those that had been amended so as to include a capital allowances claim) from the extension of the time limit. Accordingly, the taxpayer’s claims in the present case had been made in time.)
Scotch Whisky Association v. The Lord Advocate [2017] UKSC 76 (petition for judicial review challenging the lawfulness of the Act and arguing that minimum unit pricing was disproportionate under EU law, breached world trade law, and breached the Treaty and Act of Union by which England and Scotland united in 1707)
Findmypast Limited v. HMRC [2017] ScotCS CSIH 59 (nature of supply for VAT purposes in context of on-line services; whether payments in advance gave rise to VAT point; and whether on-line credits able to be used to download documents on genealogy website are face-value vouchers, and effect of their expiring without being used)
Sibcas Limited v. HMRC [2017] UKUT 298 (TCC) (whether units installed as temporary classrooms were ‘immovable', and their supply was therefore exempt for VAT purposes)
AIM (Perth) Limited v. HMRC [2017] UKFTT 533 (TC) (whether loans made by pension fund to sponsoring employer unauthorised payments / equitable relief)
James H Donald (Darvel) Limited v. HMRC [2017] UKFTT 446 (TC) (whether income tax assessments to be reduced by corporation tax payments made in context of tax avoidance arrangements)
Redwood Birkhill Limited v. HMRC [2017] UKFTT 234 (TC) (VAT treatment of discounts given by breweries to publicans)
Gullane Golf Club v. HMRC [2017] UKFTT 179 (TC) (application for permission to appeal late against refusal of VAT claim)
Scotch Whisky Association v. Scottish Parliament [2016] ScotCS CSIH 77 (whether legislation to impose minimum retail price per unit of alcohol compatible with EU law – whether excise duty alone or with other measures a less restrictive means to achieve the aim pursued)
Macleod & Mitchell Contractors Limited v. HMRC [2017] UKFTT 139 (TC) (whether insurance premiums paid by employer a taxable benefit in kind, where keyman insurance policy taken out by mistake in name of employee instead of employer)
Stewart v. HMRC, unreported, 15th February 2017 (residence for capital gains tax purposes)
Alliance Trust Savings Limited v. Currie [2016] ScotCS CSOH 154 (claim for repayment of part of pension fund paid out without deduction of tax)
Matossian v. Matossian [2016] ScotCS CSOH 21 (gifts by deceased – whether voidable on ground of facility and circumvention – capital gains tax on gifts and effect of their revocation)
Taylor Clark Leisure plc v. HMRC [2016] CSIH 54 (claims for repayment of VAT in context where claim relates to transactions by a VAT group which the company that submitted the claim has left)
Findmypast Limited v. HMRC [2016] UKUT 17 (TCC) (whether on-line credits able to be used to download documents on genealogy website are face-value vouchers, and effect of their expiring without being used)
Caithness Rugby Football Club v. HMRC [2016] UKUT 354 (TCC) (whether rugby club pavilion used similarly to a village hall, and construction supplies relating to it were zero-rated)
Balhousie Group Limited v. HMRC [2016] UKFTT 377 (TC) (whether sale and leaseback of a residential care home counted as the ‘disposal of the owner’s entire interest’ in it, so that the zero-rating on the acquisition of the home was in effect converted to standard-rating)
Faskally Care Home Limited v. HMRC [2016] UKFTT 379 (TC) (whether company making taxable supplies and therefore entitled to credit for input tax incurred)
Sibcas Limited v. HMRC [2016] UKFTT 502 (TCC) (whether units installed as temporary classrooms were ‘immovable’, and their supply was therefore exempt)
Knutsford Business Services Limited v. HMRC [2015] UKFTT 674 (TC) (whether invoices sufficient to entitle input tax deduction)
Caithness Rugby Football Club v. HMRC [2015] UKFTT 378 (TC) (whether a pavilion ‘similar to a village hall’ for the purposes of VAT zero-rating rules)
Royal Troon Golf Club v. HMRC [2015] UKFTT 121 (TC) (whether supplies of food and drink by a members club to its members are supplies for the purposes of VAT)
Senex Investments Limited v. HMRC [2015] UKFTT 107 (TC) (whether the activities of a church were a trade for the purposes of business premises renovation allowance)
Brightsolid Online Technology Limited v. HMRC [2014] UKFTT 1040 (TC) (whether credits issued by online genealogy database face-value vouchers for VAT purposes)
Devine v. HMRC [2014] UKFTT 855 (TC) (appeal against assessments to betting duty based on alleged underdeclarations of turnover)
Lees of Scotland and Thomas Tunnock Limited v. HMRC [2014] UKFTT 630 (TC) (whether snowballs are cakes or general confectionery for VAT purposes)
Luigi Pia and Sons v. HMRC [2014] UKFTT 232 (TC) (appeal against VAT assessments based on alleged underdeclarations of turnover)
Scotts Atlantic Investments Limited v. Dryburgh [2014] CSOH 165 (claim against former shareholder and director of company in connection with section 419 corporation tax charge)
Taylor Clark Leisure plc v. HMRC [2014] UKUT 396 (Fleming claims in context of VAT group where a company has left the group)
Taylor Clark Leisure plc v. HMRC [2013] UKFTT 792 (TC) (Fleming claims in context of VAT group where a company has left the group)
Mandagie v. HMRC [2013] UKFTT 672 (TC) (application for permission to appeal out of time)
European Development Company (Westhill Hotel) Limited v. HMRC [2013] UKFTT 671 (TC) (penalty surcharge for late payment of VAT over a number of years)
Cairnsmill Caravan Park v. HMRC [2013] UKFTT 164 (TC) (whether part-resurfacing of caravan park capital or revenue for income tax purposes)
Butlers Ships Stores v. HMRC [2013] UKUT 564 (excise duty assessments on innocent warehousekeeper in context of excise duty fraud)
Drumtochty Castle Limited v. HMRC [2012] UKFTT 429 (TC) (whether supply of wedding venue was exempt supply of land and buildings for VAT purposes)
Butlers Ships Stores v. HMRC [2012] UKFTT 371 (TC)(excise duty assessments on innocent warehousekeeper in context of excise duty fraud)
Maritsan Developments Limited v. HMRC [2012] UKFTT 283 (TC) (existence of partnership for VAT purposes)
Pure Independence (UK) Limited v. HMRC [2011] UKFTT 611 (TC) (zero-rating of memory foam mattresses)
Macintyre House Limited v. Maritsan Developments Limited 2011 S.L.T 936 (interpretation of VAT clause / whether contract constituted partnership for VAT purposes)
Dryburgh v. Scotts Media Tax Limited [2011] CSOH 147 (director's duties in context of EBT / corporation tax deduction)
Spring Salmon and Seafood v. HMRC [2010] CSOH 117 (application to restore company to register in context of claims for income tax relief on losses on shares)
Advocate General v Montgomery [2009] S.T.C. 2387
Lau v. HMRC [2009] S.T.C. (SpC) 740 (validity of disclaimer / deed of variation for HT)
Executors of MacArthur (deceased) v. HMRC [2008] S.T.C. (SpC) 1100 (valuation of shares for IHT)
Advocate General v Montgomery 2008 S.C.L.R. 1 (income tax; surcharges; Inland Revenue certificates)
Other Recent Cases Include Advising On:
  • Whether enforcement of judgment by High Court against assets located in England and Wales would count as remittance of profits from which the debt sued for had derived
  • Structure to remit clean element of capital receipt on sale of shares listed in New York to UK, avoiding remittance of any element of the capital gain on the sale, where shares held by offshore trust and beneficiary within s.87 TCGA92
  • VAT in relation to hire-purchase of machinery where lessee in administration
  • Whether liquidation of separate LLPs and transfer of businesses into a new company within transactions in securities rules
  • Whether expired credits under mobile phone contract liable to VAT
  • Whether postponing capital entitlements of beneficiaries entitled to interests in possession terminated their interests in possession for purposes of IHT on trusts
  • Whether furnished holiday letting arrangements counted as ‘investment’ for purposes of business property relief from IHT
  • VAT treatment of volume discounts paid by brewery companies to pub where discount included barrelage of tenants / investee companies of recipient of supply
  • Validity of unauthorised payments charge, unauthorised payments surcharge, and scheme sanction charge on loans made by pension fund to sponsoring employer company
  • Location of insurance risk for purposes of insurance premium tax
  • Charities relief from LBTT where charity co-invested with commercial investor
  • Capital gains tax where disposals set aside by court following contested litigation between parties to the disposals
  • Claim to income tax relief on losses made on shares in private company
  • Principal private residence relief where outbuilding sold separately to main building
  • Whether dilapidations payments capital or income in landlord's hands.
  • Whether company entitled to deduction against revenue profits in context of share scheme to remunerate director.
  • Drafting / interpretation of tax warranties and indemnities in share purchase agreements.
  • Liability of Delaware corporation to UK taxes in context of aircraft repairs.
  • Structure for taking residential property out of property development company.
  • Structure for winding up a farming company.
  • Structure for de-merging farming / property partnership.
  • Whether purchases of a number of premises related for SDLT purposes.
  • Liability for customs duties where goods stolen after leaving bonded warehouse.
  • VAT bad debt relief in context of liquidation of property development companies.
  • Zero-rating for VAT of supplies obtained in course of construction of residential home.
  • Reduced-rating for VAT of supplies of energy-saving materials.
  • Partial exemption special method for construction of golf clubhouse.
  • Whether property development transaction a joint venture for VAT purposes.
  • Validity of VAT invoices.
  • Identity of parties to supply of refined oil product in context of financing arrangements.
  • Whether trade organisation entitled to exemption on subscriptions as representative body.
  • Whether damages for breach of contract deductible from estate for IHT purposes.
  • Variation of trusts following FA 2006 changes to inheritance tax regime.
  • Establishment of disabled person's trust in context of a personal injury award.
  • Tax treatment of assignations of life policies written in trust.
  • Effect of precatory gift for inheritance tax purposes.
  • Validity of deed of variation / nil-rate band discretionary trust.
  • Tax-efficient structure for payment of school fees.
  • Special annual allowance charge for pension contributions.
  • Domicile of individuals.


Planning for Tax Results 2011 S.L.T. (News) 86.
Reduced rate VAT on renewables 2010 S.L.T. (News).
Share and Share Alike (2009) TELTJ, part 12, p. 14.
Chapter entitled Accounting for VAT in VAT law textbook Value Added Tax: Commentary and Analysis (2009; Paul Lasok, General Editor)
Tax relief for gifts to European charities 2009 S.L.T. (News) 119
Inland Revenue certificates: Section 70, HMRC and the Scottish courts [2007] Tax Adviser (February)
Cadbury Schweppes plc v. Commissioners of Inland Revenue: the ECJ sets a strict test for CFC legislation [2006] BTR 677
Loss, Tax, Tax Losses and Lost Tax [2001] BTR 173
Other Papers: