Tax Journal: Ferguson v HMRC

The ‘blue box’ tax avoidance scheme is aimed at creating tax relief for gifts to charity for the benefit of the donor. Writing for Tax Journal, David Whiscombe reviews the First-tier Tribunal case and decision in Ferguson v HMRC.


A week is famously a long time in
politics. And ten years is an age in tax
planning: in 2014, neither the public
nor the courts view tax sheltering, mitigation
or avoidance in the way they did in 2004. In
2004, the tax avoidance industry was still
buoyant, schemes were ten a penny and it
seemed possible to believe that even the most
egregious of them, taking advantage of the
most questionable of interpretations might
work. O tempora o mores. It is to some extent
a testimony to the efficacy with which HMRC
has managed to turn round the opinion of the
public and the courts that some, perhaps most,
schemes now coming before the courts have
advisers shaking their heads and wondering
how it was ever thought that they could have
worked. And to some extent one must feel some
sympathy for taxpayers who find their attempts
at avoidance examined by the courts in an
atmosphere which is so very different from that
in which they were devised…


The full article is available as a pdf and via the Tax Journal website.



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