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Interpreting Tax Statutes

Continuing our series of basic informative articles Rupert Shiers McGrigors introduces and summarises the basic rules which dictate the way in which the courts resolve difficult points of statutory interpretation
Interpreting tax legislation is a daily feature of life for many of us. Sometimes statutory provisions have a plain meaning but frequently things are more complex. If so the question of how the provision in question applies to the facts is determined in accordance with the general principles of statutory interpretation. This point has been a little obscured in recent years. The interpretation of tax statutes was perceived to be the subject of special rules. However the decision of the House of Lords in Barclays Mercantile Business Finance Ltd v Mawson (BMBF) [2005] STC 1 dispelled any illusions on...

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