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HMRC v Sippchoice

In HMRC v Sippchoice [2017] UKUT 87 (1 March 2017) the UT found that the reasonableness test established in Mobilx [2010] STC 1436 is not appropriate when deciding whether a pension fund’s belief that a payment is not chargeable is reasonable.

Under an alleged pensions liberation scheme members of a pension scheme were enabled to access their pension funds in the form of loans before the age at which members are permitted to obtain such benefits (55 years). The intention of the scheme (which HMRC accepted that Sippchoice did not know was being operated) was to enable those benefits to be accessed without a charge to tax under the unauthorised payments regime.

Like the FTT the UT proceeded on the assumption that the loans were unauthorised payments and thus were scheme chargeable payments for the purpose of FA 2004 s 164. The issue was whether...

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