Michael began practice in a leading set of commercial chambers before joining Temple Tax in 2005. For more than ten years he has been an author of the leading commentary on corporate tax and company reorganisations (Bramwell et al on Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions) and he has built a strong reputation in these and associated areas, such as stamp duty and SDLT. However, as his recent work shows below, Michael continues to advise in all areas of tax and this breadth of knowledge is one of his strengths. In the last year he has appeared before the Tax Tribunals in three cases concerning the taxation of employees and pensions. And some of Michael’s most important reported decisions have been in the areas of inheritance tax (IRC v Piercy v HMRC  which established the principle that land remained trading stock for BPR purposes even where let for 10+ years) and trusts law (Coombes v HMRC  where the High Court held that a capital contribution to a company owned by a trust did not make the contributor a settlor).
Michael’s approach is informal but professional. He is happy to advise in person, by telephone or video. He is also happy to discuss potential instructions on a no-fee basis and finds this particularly useful in helping clients decide whether it is necessary to seek counsel’s advice.
Michael regularly lectures and participates in brainstorming sessions particularly in the areas of corporate reconstructions, SDLT and partnerships/LLPs. Michael regards open-forum discussions such these mutually rewarding and an essential way to share experience of HMRC’s practice. If clients wish to arrange a lecture or panel discussion, they are encouraged to contact the clerks.
Matters on which Michael has recently advised include:
Group reorganisations coving all tax implications including intra-group transfer reliefs, reconstruction reliefs, SSE, the intangibles code, stamp duty and SDLT.
Re-basing assets whether reorganising involving a reduction or capital, liquidation, share cancellation scheme or statutory demerger.
Stamp duty issues in the light of section 77A FA 1986 and the FA 2020 anti-share swamping provisions.
Purchases of own shares and returns of capital, rights issues and reorganisations in particular the application of the Transactions in Securities provisions.
Incorporation of property businesses including s.162 and relief from SDLT for partnerships.
Land transactions involving SDLT, the Transactions in Land provisions and the capital gains /corporation tax charge for non-residents.
Estate planning involving maximising BPR, onshore and offshore trusts, and family investment companies.
Employment income in particular (what was) IR35 and employment-related securities.
VAT in particular single/multiple supply questions.
Education, Professional Memberships and Appointments
Michael took a First in medieval history before studying tax law on the BCL at Oxford.
Member of the Revenue Bar Association.
Member of the Stamp Practitioners' Group.
Reported tribunal cases in the last 2 years:
S&L Barnes Ltd v HM Revenue and Customs  UKFTT 00042 (TC)
The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs v Keith Murphy  EWCA Civ 1112
Keith Murphy v The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs  UKUT 0152 (TCC) – employment income — whether the payment of a success fee to the employee’s solicitors as part of the settlement of the employee’s claim against his employer is earnings
Northern Lights Solutions Ltd  UKFTT 100 — employment income — application of (what was) IR35
The Executors of the Estate David Harrison (deceased) & Anor v Revenue & Customs  UKFTT 68 — pensions — jurisdiction of the FTT to consider an appeal against HMRC’s refusal to accept a late claim for Fixed Protection
Michael has for the last 10 years been an author of Taxation of Companies and Company Reconstructions (published by Sweet and Maxwell). He also writes in the tax press including for Taxation Magazine and Tax Journal.
Michael is qualified to take direct instructions from members of the public and intermediaries under the Public Access Scheme in appropriate cases.
Outside of work Michael enjoys watching and playing football and is a season ticket holder at the Arsenal.
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