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Fisher v HMRC

In Fisher v HMRC ([2014] UKFTT 804 – 14 August 2014) the FTT partially allowed the taxpayers’ appeals against discovery assessments raised on the basis of tax avoidance.

Stan James a UK resident company owned by the Fisher family (Anne Stephen and Peter) carried on a telebetting business. Like many other similar businesses it had moved its operation to Gibraltar by selling its business to a Gibraltan incorporated company also owned by the Fisher family.

The first issue turned on the interpretation of the anti-avoidance legislation (ICTA 1988 s 739) on the transfer of assets abroad and in particular on whether the ‘motive defence’ applied. The Fishers argued that the Gibraltan company had been set up not to avoid betting duty but to save their business as they would otherwise have lost business to the competition which was moving to Gibraltar.


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