Excello Law secures victory for former UK-resident taxpayer living abroad against HMRC in landmark ruling

Posted by Lesley Potter in In The News on Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

National law firm Excello Law has successfully brought a Judicial Review against HMRC on behalf of its client Tony Micheal Jimenez, in the case of Tony Micheal Jimenez -v- HM Revenue & Customs and Other.

Steve Thomas, solicitor and commercial mediator at Excello Law based in Leeds and acting on behalf of Mr Jimenez, was successful in a Judicial Review of conduct by HM Revenue & Customs. The Review was an important legal consideration regarding the degree to which HMRC are able to review the tax affairs of taxpayers who have left the UK permanently to live abroad. Despite Jimenez having fully cooperated with queries raised by HMRC about his residence status over the previous years, HMRC sought to force matters by issuing a production notice to Jimenez at his Dubai residence.

The High Court ruled that once a former UK-resident taxpayer leaves the UK, the degree to which HMRC are able to enquire into their tax affairs is much reduced.

The main area of dispute was the degree to which countries can assist other countries in recovering or assisting HMRC. It was held that countries should not assist other countries in the collection of tax, unless there exists a reciprocal arrangement.

Jimenez left the UK 15 years ago; since leaving he has openly and voluntarily cooperated with queries raised by HMRC about his residence status. Yet despite Jimenez’s cooperation, HMRC sought to force matters by issuing a production notice to Jimenez at his Dubai residence. In his ruling, Mr Justice Charles agreed this was an unlawful and unreasonable approach by HMRC. Jimenez has been awarded his costs incurred.

Steve Thomas commented: “This landmark decision now gives an important and clear safeguard to non-residents who were formerly UK-resident taxpayers, who move away from the UK for work or retirement. That is to say, once they leave the UK, then the degree to which HMRC are able to enquire into their tax affairs is much reduced.”

This decision is a game changer in respect of the powers of HMRC but will be of interest for non doms.

Jimenez was represented by Steve Thomas of Excello Law, Rory Mullan of Counsel and Gary Brothers of Independent Tax.