Monthly Archives: May 2020

A webinar update on the latest legal and regulatory changes in crypto

In this webinar, recorded live in May 2020, we discuss the latest legal and regulatory changes in the crypto space, including the Law Tech Delivery Panel’s Legal Statement on Crypto Assets and Smart Contracts, and Crypto Currency manipulation. As well …

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easyJet’s woes worsen

As anticipated in our post on 22 May, the easyJet data breach story is getting worse for the company rather than better. A group action claim for compensation has now been launched on behalf of the pool of affected customers.  If the case goes to trial or if a settlement is reached, the details of which are made public (which is unusual) it will be interesting to see what value is attributed to the loss of privacy of each customer. This is likely to depend on what data was exposed for the 4 month period. Only some customers had credit card details revealed, but all had passport and travel details compromised. It is still possible that the number of affected customers may change as the incident is investigated further.

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Cathay Pacific, British Airways, easyJet – what’s the connection?

In March 2020 Cathy Pacific was fined £500,000, the maximum under the pre-GDPR law, for various security defects which enabled a hacker to gain access to the personal data of over 9.4 million customers worldwide. In July 2019 The ICO …

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Overview of UK income Tax and Capital Gains Tax – Part 1 (Turkish language)

In this instalment of this video series from Tulin Kiranoglu-Hamit we look at Inheritance Tax law in England and specifically at issues around the transfer of money. (Turkish language) Bu videomuzda, sizin ile Turkiye’den ya da herhangi bir ulkeden Ingiltere’ye …

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Collyer Bristow wins industry award for best training programme

Collyer Bristow is delighted to win the Training & Recruitment Award 2020 for “Best Trainer – Medium City Firm”. The award, presented online this year due to Coronavirus lockdown, recognises the quality and breadth of work; the support and …

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Collyer Bristow Partners recognised in guide to the world’s leading IP practitioners

Collyer Bristow IP Partners, Patrick Wheeler and Tim Bamford, have been recognised in the 2020 rankings of IPStars , the highly regarded guide to the world’s leading IP law firms practitioners. IPStars research, rankings, and analysis provides independent and impartial …

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Purchasers and renters in England can move home if they want to – as long as they follow the new guidance

Last night the Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick, announced that “anyone in England can move home if they follow new guidance”.The latest updates to the Covid Regulations are a welcome relief to the housing market and will allow people to visit estate agents, lettings agents, developer’s sales offices and show homes. It is also now a ‘reasonable excuse’ to leave your home to “undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property:visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent;preparing a residential property to move in;moving home;visiting a residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property”.The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have also set out proposals to:allow builders to agree more flexible construction site working hours with their local council, such as staggering builders’ arrival times, easing pressure on public transport;enable local councils and developers to publicise planning applications through social media instead of having to rely on posters and leaflets; andsupport smaller developers by allowing them to defer payments to local councils, helping those struggling with their cash flow while ensuring communities.These updates and proposals are a great relief to the housing market and should begin to unlock the market again. However, I would caution that it is unlikely to be completely smooth sailing for some time yet. Transactions will need to be tailored to each set of circumstances and will need to allow continued flexibility to purchasers and their changing circumstances. I also suspect there will continue to be some element of Buyer reluctance so soon after the announcement.But it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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Coronavirus Recovery: an overview of The UK Government’s phased strategy

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 10 May regarding the first steps out of the lockdown  the Government has now published detailed guidance called  “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s Covid-19 Recovery Strategy.” This sets out three distinct phases …

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Domicile Enquiries – Tax Tribunal has jurisdiction to determine domicile in closure notice applications: Henkes v HMRC

Of all Revenue investigations, domicile enquiries are uniquely laborious, time-consuming, and financially and emotionally costly for taxpayers.Frequently, their scope balloons to vast proportions, with lengthy schedules of questions being followed by yet more schedules of questions, and then more still, and more. Many of the details requested have limited or no conceivable relevance to a person’s domicile, but HMRC justifies its approach by claiming that it is “in the information gathering” phase of its enquiry, and because domicile can only be ascertained “in the round”, by examining all aspects of a person’s history and lifestyle. Restraining HMRC only to relevant considerations can be a task of Herculean effort.Superficially, examining a taxpayer’s unique situation “in the round” on the basis of all the available evidence might seem positive: it should, after all, be preferable to the rough justice of an inflexible rule of thumb. But in domicile enquiries, its effect is that of a bludgeon rather than an incisive scalpel.Unfortunately for taxpayers, HMRC seems to consider that the “information gathering phase” of a domicile enquiry lasts from its outset until the point that the investigating officer considers him- or herself ready to make a determination. Too often, that is several years after the enquiry was opened. In the meantime, the taxpayer will have spent large sums on professional advice and suffered unwanted (and, in many cases, unwarranted) intrusion into all aspects of their private lives, which can include re-opening painful memories and explaining complex family relationships.In recent years, HMRC has significantly increased the number and scope of enquiries into taxpayers’ domicile status – especially where the person in question has spent several years resident in the UK. The attraction of taxing a person’s worldwide estate on death at 40% is doubtless a powerful lure for the Revenue.Unfortunately, HMRC’s unwillingness to be satisfied where evidence – other than the taxpayer’s recollection – no longer exists is particularly problematic. It has reached the stage where the prurient prying and sour tone in many domicile enquiries is causing real concern among professional advisers that HMRC’s conduct risks damaging the UK’s reputation among internationally-mobile individuals. And word gets around – especially as some national groups are disproportionately affected.So what is an affected taxpayer to do?Perhaps conscious that HMRC might occasionally over-reach itself, Parliament enacted a specific safeguard: the right for a taxpayer to apply to the Tax Tribunal for an Order directing HMRC to issue a closure notice in an enquiry. This balances the right of HMRC to investigate a person’s domicile with the right of the subject to require a final decision within a reasonable period of time, once sufficient information has been provided. If that closure notice is adverse to a taxpayer, he or she then has a right of appeal to the Tribunal, which can uphold or overturn HMRC’s decision.In the recent Henkes case (Henkes v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 00159 (TC) (Judge Tony Beare)), the Tax Tribunal considered an application by Mr Henkes for a closure notice in HMRC’s domicile enquiry, which, by the time of the hearing, had been open for over three years.What makes Henkes so important is the Tribunal’s decision that it has the jurisdiction conclusively to determine a taxpayer’s domicile in the context of a closure notice application – and not just in a substantive appeal against HMRC’s determination once issued. Moreover, the Tribunal’s determination of a person’s domicile, once made, is binding both on the taxpayer and on HMRC for the tax years in question, and may not be re-litigated in any Court or Tribunal in future proceedings.In so deciding, the Tribunal departed from the decision and reasoning in Levy (Levy v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 0418 (TC) (Judge Andrew Scott)).This case is significant because it brings forward the point at which a taxpayer can expect a determination of his or her domicile, thus – hopefully – shortening HMRC’s enquiry and saving substantial professional costs. The Tribunal did make it clear that it would not be appropriate to determine a taxpayer’s domicile in every such application, and as more appeals follow Henkes the limits of the Tribunal’s willingness to do so should become clearer.Unfortunately for Mr Henkes, the Tribunal decided that he was domiciled in the UK.  But the strategic loss for HMRC – which had argued that the Tribunal did not have jurisdiction to determine domicile in a closure notice application – was much the greater. It is not yet known whether Mr Henkes and/or HMRC will appeal to the Upper Tribunal.In the meantime, taxpayers suffering lengthy and intrusive domicile enquiries should be emboldened by the Henkes decision into requiring HMRC to issue closure notices within a reasonable period, failing which they should take advice about applying to the Tribunal for an Order. In many cases, this could turn out to be an invaluable tool in the taxpayer’s armoury.But the most positive outcome from the Henkes case would be if HMRC changed its approach to domicile enquiries from its present antagonistic model back to the common-sense attitude which prevailed in previous years. One lives in hope!

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Court of Appeal gives judgment in Arkin v Marshall

In Arkin v Marshall the Court of Appeal has given judgment. The case involves the Practice Direction 51Z which was brought into play as a result of COVID-19 and which (in its original form) stayed all possession proceedings until the …

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