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Bilta v RBS: litigation privilege and tax investigations

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Corporates facing an investigation by HMRC often undertake internal investigations in order to establish the facts and respond to HMRC. Case law has cast doubt over including interview transcripts produced during an internal investigation are protected by litigation privilege. However, the High Court has recently clarified the position somewhat in Bilta (UK Ltd) (in liquidation) v RBS plc, upholding RBS’s claim to litigation privilege in respect of documents generated during an internal investigation pursuant to communications from HMRC alleging RBS’s involvement in MTIC fraud and denying RBS’s right to recover c.£86m of input tax.

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