Devereux barristers in Supreme Court tax case

11 July 2011

Ingrid Simler QC, Akash Nawbatt and Chris Stone all represented Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) before the Supreme Court, in the joined appeals of Davies & James v HMRC and Gaines-Cooper v HMRC, concerning the correct interpretation and application of HMRC's guidance booklet on residence and non-residence status, IR20.

Residence status determines an individual's liability to certain taxes in the UK. The Appellants, represented by Lord Grabiner QC and David Goldberg QC, argued that IR20 created a substantive legitimate expectation that they would be treated as non-resident and did not require them to cut any pre-existing ties with the UK in order to lose their UK residence status. Alternatively, it was argued that the same legitimate expectation had been created by HMRC's past practice. Although HMRC accepted that it was bound to apply IR20 to the facts of the Appellants' cases, it did not accept the Appellants' interpretations of the booklet or that there had been a change in practice.

The Supreme Court reserved its decision.