Gaines-Cooper loses another High Court battle

by David Jetuah

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17 Feb 2010

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Time out of the country can prove to be taxing

HMRC has won another key victory in the courts after judges rejected fresh claims by international business tycoon Robert Gaines-Cooper that he had been wrongly denied non-resident status.

Gaines-Cooper claimed the taxman had laid a "devious trap" for him by refusing him
non-resident status and hitting him with a huge retrospective tax bill, but a judicial review did not agree.

The ruling will affect so called "Monaco Millionaires" who try to escape the UK tax net by living overseas but where they retain connections with the UK.

Judges said that HMRC had used the correct interpretation of the UK's non-resident policy, known as "IR20" and said that England had remained "the centre of gravity of his life and interests."

Mike Warburton tax at Grant Thornton said: "This decision will come as a major blow to those wealthy tax exiles who had carefully followed the Revenue published guidelines in IR20 but now find that the goalposts have been moved."

Gaines-Cooper, a globe-trotting businessman insists he has been domiciled at his luxury villa in the Seychelles for more than 30 years and has religiously kept to the taxman’s published demands by spending no more than 91 days-a-year in the UK.

But judges said he had never cut his ties with Berkshire, where he grew up, and Oxfordshire, where the court ruled his mansion, near Henley, continues to be his "chief residence."

Further reading:

Gaines-Cooper loses in Court of Appeal

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