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Robin Mathew QC

Call 1974 Silk 1992
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Robin Mathew’s practice is, and at all times has been, founded on his experience and expertise in tax. He has acted in many significant cases for both tax gatherer and taxpayer in terms of income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, VAT, SDLT and customs and excise duties. He also advises on peripheral indirect specific taxes including EU subsidies and quota rules. His advisory and advocacy practice extends to resolving tax-based problems faced by commercial, private and charitable trustees as well as insolvency practitioners.

He also has long experience, and particular expertise in “back duty” tax cases, negligence by tax advisers, including solicitors and accountants, and judicial review of the tax-gathering authorities. In international work he has made a number of appearances before the Privy Council as well as in other common law jurisdictions. He is a member of the Gibraltar Bar. Before coming to the Bar he trained as a journalist. For several years he was a specialist in City and financial matters with national newspapers, and then as a freelance writer. He has also written widely on tax matters.

  • Cases of interest
    • Swain-Mason and Others v Mills & Reeve (a firm)[2012] EWCA Civ 498; [2012] S.T.C. 1760; [2012] 4 Costs L.O. 511; [2012]W.T.L.R. 1827; [2012] S.T.I. 1511. See also 2011] EWCA Civ 14; [2011] 1 W.L.R. 2735; [2011] C.P. Rep. 19; Times,February 15, 2011Tax: alleged negligence by solicitors over Inheritance Tax advice concerning the sale of a private company. This is now a leading case on late amendment of a Statement of claim (drafted by a solicitor). The first instance High Court judge granted the claimants leave to amend on first day of trial. The defendants applied to have amendments disallowed but the judge rejected. The issue was whether the judge had erred. The Court of Appeal held he had.
    • Hankinson v H.M. Commissioners for Revenue and Customs[2011] EWCA Civ 1566The taxpayer contended that the “Discovery" assessment for more than £30m made on him in respect of the year of assessment 1998/99, was invalid. He contended that HMRC had not complied with the preconditions required by section 20(1) and (3) of the Taxes Management Act 1970, as amended for self assessment purposes. The Court of Appeal rejected the argument and held that the conditions had only to be met by HMRC when the assessment was appealed.
    • Buzzoni & ors v H.M. Commissioners for Revenue and Customs[2012] UKUT [124] (and [2014] EWCA Civ 1684)Inheritance Tax and “reservation of benefit” in a gift: In a gratuitous grant of a future underlease, the donor ensured, as required by the freeholder, that the usual tenant's covenants were expressly set out in the underlease and that the donor and the donees had joint and several liability in that respect. The Court of Appeal upheld the donor’s appeal.
      First Tier Tribunal (Tax).
    • Regina (on the application of Hankinson v H. M. Commissioners for Revenue & Customs[2009] STC 2158; [2009] EHWC 1774 (Admin)Judicial Review and was an important case on jurisdiction - where there was prima facie power to transfer judicial review proceedings to the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery).The question was whether it was appropriate to exercise the power. Supreme Court Act 1981 s. 31A.
    • Regina (on the application of Cooke) v H.M.Commissioners for Revenue & Customs2008] STC 1847; (2007) Times, 12 February; [2007] All ER (D) 269 (Jan)Whether the use of a coercive information power by HMRC against a client's solicitor was valid.
    • Senergy (UK) Limited v H.M. Commissioners for Revenue and CustomsSpecial Commissioners' decision v.19723 of 23/08/2006. Chairman Miss Gort.VAT "input Tax" and the issues were (i) whether a single event was sufficient to justify a finding of “sham” and (ii) the requirements for valid invoices.
    • Ord v Upton[1999] All ER (D) 1384; (2000) Times, 11 January; [2000] 1 All ER 193An important Court of Appeal insolvency case: The issue was whether the award of a composite sum including an amount for personal injury, which sum vested in the Claimant's trustee in bankruptcy, belonged to the trustee or the claimant or both, if so in what manner.
    • R v Commissioners of Inland Revenue and MacDonald ex parte Hutchinson[1998] 71 Tax Cases 1, [1998] STC 680Whether the issue of an onerous HMRC coercive information notice upon a company was valid. Held by Carnwath J it was partially invalid.
    • Gray v Seymour's Garden Centre[1995] 67 Tax Cases 401, Times Law Reports, 31 May 1995, [1995] STC 706Whether a commercial display and growing greenhouse was "plant” for capital allowance purposes. Court of Appeal held it was not.
    • Feehan v H.M. Commissioners of Customs & Excise[1995] STC 75, Times Law Reports, 11 November 1994Whether the proceeds from video poker machines were exempt from VAT.
    • Committee of Directors of Polytechnics v H.M. Commissioners of Customs & Excise[1992] STC 873Whether the services supplied by the committee were exempt from VAT.
    • Burford v Durkin[1991] STC 7An important case on whether a special assessment on a building sub-contractor must be made by the tax inspector who took the decision to assess was valid. Held by Court of Appeal that it was.
    • Bi-Flex Caribbean Ltd v Board of Inland Revenue (Trinidad and Tobago)[1990] 63 Tax Cases 515Whether a "best of judgment" tax assessment was justifiable. The Privy Council set out the conditions required.
    • John Pimblett & Sons Ltd v H.M. Commissioners of Customs and Excise[1988] STC 358; [1987] STC 202Whether pies were subject to VAT as hot food if sold hot after cooking.
      Court of Appeal held they were not.
    • Hamblett v Godfrey[1987] 59 Tax Cases 694Whether £1000 paid to GCHQ employees to relinquish the right to belong to a trade union was chargeable to Schedule E income tax. The Court of Appeal in an important judgment on employee income taxation, said they were.
    • Chaney v Watkiss[1987] 58 Tax Cases 707, [1986] STC 89Whether a Vendor’s post-contractual expenditure by a vendor was deductible for capital gains tax purposes. The High Court held it was.
    • Les Croupiers Casino Co v Pattinson[1987] 60 Tax Cases 196, [1985] STC 738Whether, in a "back duty" case, a finding by inference of dishonest conduct was reasonably supported by the inferences drawn from opaque circumstantial evidence. The Court of Appeal said it was.
  • Articles
    • “Discovery today pursuant to s. 29 Taxes Management Act 1970”
      Lecture to HMRC Solicitors’ Office
      16 January 2015
    • A heresy extinguished: Hastings-Bass reformed
      NSC Legal Update
      June 2013
    • The prosperous UK emigrant
      NSC Legal Update
      February 2012
    • Gaines-Cooper – a troublesome case for United Kingdom residents who emigrate
      NSC – Legal Update
      May 2010
    • The new regime for the enforcement of foreign taxes in the United Kingdom
      Trusts & Trustees Journal
      September 2008
    • IR 20: ‘Guidance’ or Concession?
      The Tax Journal
      21 May 2007
    • Old values in a new world: domicile of choice vs domicile of origin
      NSC – Legal Update – Issue 4 – Winter 2006
      November 2006
    • Culpable Conduct
      The Tax Journal
      14 November 2003
    • Whose right is it anyway?
      Taxation Magazine
      13 June 2005
    • Who Lurks in the Shadows?
      Taxation Magazine
      11 December 2003
    • Statutory Fiction
      Taxation Magazine
      30 January 2003
    • Does ‘Available’ Equal ‘Provided’?
      Taxation Magazine
      18 October 2001
    • Tax Appeals and the Civil Procedure Rules
      Tax Journal
      April 1999
    • British Telecom Pension Scheme Trustees and ors v Clarke (HMIT) a case note
      Tax Journal

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