Tycoon soon to face High Court tax scrutiny

Baker Tilly is taken to court

A private equity tycoon’s tax affairs could be discussed in court later this
month, in one of the most hotly awaited tax negligence suits.

Terra Firma chief executive Guy Hands, alongside several other claimants, is
taking on Baker Tilly and Adrian Shipwright, the senior tax barrister, in a case
over advice on film tax schemes.

Claimants say they were advised they could claim substantial tax relief, but
in the end either no, or limited, relief was available.

The claim is worth £22m and comes to court at the end of June.

Advisers expect the tax affairs of claimants to be discussed as part of the
case, potentially exposing Hands’ tax issues to public scrutiny.

A total of 15 claimants have brought the claim, filed in the High Court in
2006, for advice given during the period between August and November 2000.

According to the claim form: ‘Contrary to the advice given no, or only
limited, tax relief was available and each of those claimants has suffered loss
as a result.’ The claim is for damages relating to investments in Little Wing
Films Limited.

Among tax accountants the claim comes as a surprise as Baker Tilly is not
known as a firm with an aggressive approach to selling tax schemes.

Baker Tilly is being advised by Barlows’ senior partner, Simon Konsta, with
Four New Square’s Justin Fenwick QC and David Turner as counsel. It is believed
talks to resolve the issue have failed.

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