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Contentious tax: quarterly review

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In recent months, we have seen an increase in HMRC seeking to use production orders to obtain information and full client files from accountants who have advised clients in relation to HMRC criminal investigations, including under Code of Practice 9. HMRC is also seeking to extend the application of the ‘unallowable purpose’ provisions in order to challenge loan arrangements entered into by corporates to fund various commercial acquisitions. HMRC is, in effect, contending that any borrowing used to finance a commercial acquisition involves a main purpose of securing tax relief on the financing cost if the taxpayer intended to obtain the relief. We have also noted an increase in the number of HMRC enquiries relating to domicile, and there have been two recent tribunal decisions (Embiricos and Levy) on this issue, which suggests that taxpayers are facing greater scrutiny from HMRC in this area.

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