HMRC creates rod for its own back

Richard & Judy’s case against the taxman (which I think we can now prefix with the word ‘celebrated’) was covered by almost everyone at the weekend.

There’s one question perhaps that hasn’t entirely been covered, but will be of special relevance to tax professionals.

It’s this: is tax law to be interpreted in a strict and literal manner, or in a purposive manner? Is it the letter of the law that should concern people, or the intention?

The answer, of course, is both, but HM Revenue & Customs is playing a very dangerous game in taking this particular case. Splitting hairs about whether or not Madeley and Finnigan are ‘theatrical artists’ or not leads one to think the letter of the law, rather than its obvious purpose, might be the key thing.

HMRC wouldn’t want tax advisers to think that when pushing avoidance schemes, though, would it?

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