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Conflicts in the tax code: two case studies

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In The Prudential Assurance Company, the First-tier Tribunal was faced with a case of two provisions in the VAT rules producing contrary outcomes, with no clear way of determining which should prevail. In a similar vein, a familiar and longstanding conflict within the chargeable gains regime – namely, the three-way battle between TCGA 1992 s 135, s 171 and Sch 7AC – presents an arguably thornier question, and one that is yet to be tested in the courts. Resolving such conflicts within the tax code is no easy task, particularly where there is no obvious ‘right’ answer in policy terms.

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