Decision in Judicial Review by claimants in Film Partnerships promoted by Ingenious Media

31 Jul 2015 | 04:49 pm | 1 min. read

The decision has been released today in the case of Nigel Rowe, Alec David Worrall & Others v HMRC [2015] EWHC 2293 (Admin) which involved a challenge by way of judicial review to partner payment notices (PPNs) issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to members of limited liability partnerships (LLPs) set up by Ingenious Media plc. In the decision Mrs Justice Simler DBE dismissed the judicial review.

Pinsent Masons LLP are the solicitors acting for Messrs Rowe and Worrall and the 150 plus other claimants involved.

Jason Collins, Head of Tax at international law firm Pinsent Masons LLP said:

"We are disappointed by the judgment, which in our view does not does not adequately address a number of serious issues raised by this new legislation.  For many of the claimants, HMRC checked and repaid the tax in question over 10 years ago when it could have instead held on to the money pending any further investigations – yet it is now trying to use new legislation to claw money back. 

In many cases, the claimants also say that HMRC has not followed proper procedures and is now out of time to recover any tax, whatever the merits of the underlying dispute.

We are taking instructions from the claimants. As this is a large group of claimants for whom this is also news today, we are unable to comment further at this time."

Accelerated payment notices (APNs) were introduced in July 2014 and allow HMRC to demand the payment of disputed tax associated with a tax avoidance scheme up front – before a tribunal or court has decided whether or not a scheme is effective. PPNs are similar to APNs but are used where a notice is given to a member of a partnership or an LLP.

APNs and PPNs can be issued where schemes demonstrate certain 'avoidance hallmarks'; such as the scheme being subject to disclosure requirements under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) rules. APNs or PPNs can be issued in relation to schemes that were entered into before the APN and PPN legislation came into force. Before APNs and PPNs were introduced HMRC had to win a tribunal case before it could demand disputed tax in these cases – except where repayments of tax were claimed, in which case HMRC already had the power to hold the money in dispute. Accelerated payments will be repaid with interest in the event that the scheme is ultimately proved to work.

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