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Michael Sherry

Michael practices in all areas of tax law and practice.  


Particular examples of advisory work give a flavour:


Tax planning

Mergers and acquisitions raise many tax issues, and Michael is regularly involved. One area of particular interest is the loan relationship code, which presents both opportunities and pitfalls. Here all the issues of personal taxation, employee taxation, treatment of trading profits and losses for corporation tax overlap and interact with capital taxation.


Remuneration planning

EBT’s; Dividend remuneration post F.A. 2003; FURBS (including in particular N.I. and FURBS); use of old EBT’s; emigration double tax treaties and EBT’s; ratchet shares; shares mirroring options but avoiding option and conditional share treatment. Michael’s success in Mansworth v Jelley illustrates his sureness of judgment in this field.


VAT & Duties

VAT often interacts with other areas of tax. However recent and ongoing matters concerned principally with VAT include treatment of distance learning materials, buildings for private schools, (both planning and litigation), ensuring rulings are honoured (see ex p. Kay – Customs & Excise judicially reviewed; proof of export (the rules were amended in 2003). Duties cases include carousel fraud and the quantification of excise duty involved.


Accounting and tax

From loan relationships through provisions to prior year adjustments, tax and accounting principles interplay. Recently one case raised a variety of issues including: valuation at 31 March 1996; whether accounts were prepared in accordance with UK GAAP, was a 50:50 JV "connected" to either investor; does a loss "arise" if a debt is doubtful/bad at the time it is made. Interesting current instructions involve relevant discounted securities in the context of inheritance tax planning.


Private client

The wealthy private client or businessman has both short and long horizons. Michael has wide experience of this work including e.g. offshore trusts (visiting Jersey regularly.) Recently a property transaction for thirty million by an offshore company raised issues of VAT, Taxes Act 1988 section 776, what constitutes a branch or agency, emigration and TCGA s.10A, double tax treaties with Israel, Belgium, Mauritius, New Zealand ……
Often significant private client issues arise in mergers and acquisitions.
Recent experience includes preparing a dot.com group for listing on AIM and NASDAQ. Issues included ratchet shares for employees, unbundling the corporate structure so that intermediate capital qualified for Venture Capital Relief, and Stamp Duty relief on the reconstruction.



From VAT planning to excess rents this work is often challenging, involving several difficult tax problems in a single transaction, from VAT partial exemption through Schedule A treatment of reverse premiums to Stamp Duty, and Stamp Duty Reserve Tax. A recent case involved the VAT treatment of a grant to a major museum exceeding ten million pounds where the donor charity wished to secure extensive "editorial" control over the application of the funds and the acknowledgements. Another involved a school and V.A.T. on its new theatre - avoiding the consequences of the Halifax decision.


Back duty

The Revenue's Special Compliance Office and Customs Officers sometimes takes bad technical points. Michael has helped to resolve cases by advising and by attending meetings with the Revenue and Customs.
Most recently an interesting case involving the application of the remittance basis to Swiss fiduciary money market deposits lead to a constructive meeting with the Revenue's case officer accompanied by a senior member of International Division.


Tax administration

As a co-author of Whiteman on Income Tax (and sole editor of its annual supplements) Michael has written extensively on this subject. He advises regularly on the duties of taxpayers and recently gained a notable success on the issue of disclosure and “discovery” in the landmark decision of Park J. on “discovery” in the context of self assessment; see Langham v Veltema.


Money Laundering

Michael has closely monitored the genesis of the current obligations of tax advisers through his involvement in CFE (the European Tax Advisers’ federation), the Chartered Accountants’ Business Law Committee (of which Michael is Chairman) the Revenue Bar Association, and the Tax Faculty. He is uniquely placed to advise those professionals who are unsure how to resolve their duty to their client and their duty to make disclosure. During May 2003 he regularly lectured on this subject in anticipation of the new Regulations coming into force in later this year.


Professional negligence

For the tax practitioner, professional negligence is the ever present “ghost at the feast.”

Capability in this area requires a combination which is rare-

- pre-eminent knowledge of tax law;

- advocacy skills which can turn the mind of the highest court (see e.g. Palmer v Moloney in the Court of Appeal)

- an ability to handle lay clients (ask those who have experience: see www.michaelsherry.co.uk). 

Directories - Professional Recommendations



"He has a good bedside manner with clients and is very technical." "Commercial in his outlook and user-friendly, he is very practical and manages the expectations of the client well." - Chambers UK 2024: Tax


 "Michael is a tenacious and thorough advocate who leaves no stone unturned. He is passionate about his cases and a delight to work with." - Legal500 2024


"His knowledge of his area is a wonder to behold." - Chambers UK 2023: Tax


"Intelligent, articulate, technically brilliant.’" - Legal 500 2023

"Michael Sherry practices in all areas of direct tax, including corporate tax planning, property tax, and tax elements of M&A."- Legal 500 2023


"Michael has excellent knowledge, and is flexible and responsive. Solicitors have absolute confidence in the advice he provides." - Legal 500 2022  


"He provides excellent service and responsive, clear opinions." "Very calm under pressure, he is unflappable and erudite in his advice." - Chambers and Partners 2021: Tax


He is very approachable and able to explain complex matters clearly to clients.’ - Legal 500 2021 


"He is exceptional in defending his clients’ position" - Legal 500 2019


"A thoughtful barrister with a calming manner." - Chambers & Partners 2019: Tax


"He provides practical advice backed up by sound written opinion." - Legal 500 2017


Expertise: "Very commercially minded. He's inventive, a very good technician, and good at coming up with solutions to problems - we go to him when we hit a brick wall."


Recent work: He acted for the taxpayer in a capital gains tax case concerning enterprise investment scheme and taper relief.” 


Chambers and Partners 2015 – Indirect Tax: A general tax expert who represents clients in cases concerning indirect tax issues. He handles VAT matters relating to the education sector, and is also active in the areas of duties and property taxation. 


Legal 500 2014 Corporate and VAT: ‘His advice gives you full confidence that matters are dealt with in an efficient and cost-effective manner.


Legal 500 2014 Private Client – Personal Tax: thoughtful, clear and very willing to work collaboratively.

Recent Cases


Hancock & Anor v Revenue and Customs [2019] UKSC 24


Shannon v Revenue and Customs  [2018] UKFTT 17 (TC)


Stolkin v HM Revenue and Customs [2016] EWCA Civ 447


Revenue & Customs v Forde and McHugh Ltd [2014] UKSC 14 (TC)

Allan v Revenue & Customs [2013] UKFTT 142 (TC)

Alchemist (Devil's Gate) Film Partnership v Revenue & Customs [2013] UKFTT 157  (TC)

Chipping Sodbury Golf Club & Ors v Revenue & Customs [2012] UKFTT 557 (TC)

Boyer Allan Investment Services Ltd v Revenue & Customs [2012] UKFTT 558 (TC)

Stolkin v Revenue & Customs [2011] UKFTT 831 (TC)

Omar v Revenue & Customs [2011] UKFTT 722 (TC)

Segesta Ltd v Revenue & Customs [2010] UKFTT 235 (TC)

Grays Timber Products Ltd v Revenue and Customs (Scotland) [2010] UKSC 4

Monro v HM Revenue & Customs [2008] EWCA Civ 306

Irving v HM Revenue & Customs [2008] EWCA Civ

Company A v Revenue & Customs [2007] UKSPC SPC00602

College of Estate Management v. Customs and Excise [2005] UKHL 62

Shepherd v Revenue and Customs [2005] UKSPC SPC00484

Weston v HM Inspector of Taxes [2005] EWCA Civ 742

Her Majesty's Inspector of Taxes v Jelley [2002] EWCA Civ 1829



1984 -2003

Cumulative Supplements to Whiteman on Income Tax- sole editor (joint editor 2003)
Cumulative Supplements to Whiteman on Capital Gains Tax - sole editor



Tax Planning for Family Company Shareholders (Keyhaven)



Whiteman on Income Tax (3rd Ed. Sweet & Maxwell - Co-author)



 Michael is a regular lecturer on tax topics; recent talks have included:
 - recent tax cases, for the International Fiscal Association
 - money laundering and the tax adviser for the Tax Faculty and the Audit Faculty  
- UK GAAP and profits for tax for the Addington Society and the Revenue Bar Association and Key Haven
- VAT place of supply rules for 3 Temple Gardens Tax Chambers Talks
- VAT composite and multiple supplies for 3 Temple Gardens Tax Chambers Talks
- VAT vouchers, tokens and discounts for 3 Temple Gardens Tax Chambers Talks 

-Mansworth v Jelley for Deloitte and Touche


Recent papers
Mansworth v Jelley a long and winding tale: given to Deloitte & Touche on Monday 16th June 2003.

VAT - Mixed or composite supplies; the obvious distinction between goods and services

Submission in response to the EU Commission's consultation on the use of International Accounting Standards as a starting point for a common consolidated corporate tax base.

Business law and the tax adviser for the Tax Faculty's Annual Conference April 12, 2003.

The EU Commission's April 2002 conference on "Removing barriers within the single market - a common corporate tax base" published in Taxline,

May 2002.

Topical aspects of taper relief - KeyHaven conference, December 10, 2002. 

UK GAAP and profits for tax - Addington Society, November 27, 2002.
UK GAAP and corporate profits - KeyHaven conference. June 12, 2003 

Other Experience


Admitted to The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners


April 2012 Appointed Head of Chambers at Temple Tax Chambers


Chair Chartered Accountants' Business Law Committee;
May 2003 Wyman Debate - Head of Policy Inland Revenue and Head of Policy Customs & Excise; April 2003 Panellist CFE Forum, Brussels; Participated in EU Commission panel of experts on possible use of IAS for a common consolidated corporate tax base, March 2003



April 2002 Panellist at EU Conference at invitation of EU Commission;
UK panel representative invited by the EU Commission to participate in the open conference on harmonisation of the corporate tax base in Europe;
September 2002 Gray's Inn Barristers' Committee.


Elected to the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for a term of three years.

Appointed* a United Kingdom representative to the Federation of European Tax Professionals (CFE)

Elected Chairman of the Tax Faculty of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for a term of two years.


Elected President of the Institute of Indirect Taxation, a position he held until early 1999


Michael was asked to sit on an Inland Revenue confidential consultation which resulted in the rewriting of the Settlement provisions (Taxes Act 1988 sections 660A-660G.)


1985 to  1992
Secretary of the Revenue Bar Association, during which time he was much involved in the development of direct access to the Bar.


1984 -  1985

Completed pupillages in Chancery and Tax Chambers before being offered a place at 3 Temple Gardens Tax Chambers from where he has since carried on his independent practice.


1978 -  1983
Joined Ernst & Young's predecessor firm Arthur Young where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1981 and gained admission to the Chartered Institute of Taxation in 1982.
He was a founder member of Ernst & Young's oil industry tax group.


 Law degree at Oxford in 1977 followed by Bar Finals in 1978.


 Scholarship to Lincoln College, Oxford

 * Reappointed 2001, 2002, 2003 


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Alun James
Michael Sherry
Jonathan S. Schwarz
Tim Brown
Scott Redpath
Michael Collins
Philip Ridgway
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Keith M Gordon
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