Simon Myerson QC and Alasdair Campbell acted for Edward Watkin Gittins, and Nigel Sangster QC led for Martin Calcutt in their successful defence against the HMRC.
Simon Myerson QC and Alasdair Campbell acted for Edward Watkin Gittins, and Nigel Sangster QC led for Martin Calcutt in their successful defence against a charge of Cheating the Revenue in respect of a tax avoidance scheme devised and implemented by Mr Gittins, which enabled a Liverpool educational charity – Rotunda – to survive a financial crisis.
The Revenue had asserted that transactions involving the gift of government gilts said to take place in a particular tax year were ineffective, and had taken place in a different year. The team were able to demonstrate that the transactions were legally effective. HMRC nonetheless proceeded on the basis that tax relief of over £2.5m had been claimed for a year in which it was not due. After calling half its evidence and seeing what its witnesses said in cross-examination, HMRC withdrew its case – a decision with which the Judge publicly agreed.
Calling the result ‘exceptionally pleasing’ Myerson said that the question of Mr Gittins’ costs (no legal aid being available for him) would have to be addressed at a later date.