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Markel Tax

21 May 2020

One team, all the taxes

A key factor that led to Markel Tax being awarded the Best Independent Tax Consultancy Firm 2020 by Tolley’s Taxation was the breadth of tax services we cover.

We’ve worked hard to build a talented team, both through strategic recruitment and combining three well-respected tax consultancy firms—Abbey Tax, Accountax and Gabelle—in 2019.

Today we’re immensely proud of our 60+ strong team of tax experts who offer daily advice on a wide range of issues, whether it’s a property transaction requiring VAT, direct tax and SDLT expertise or a business reconstruction involving corporates and an overseas trust, we have the right team.

Why is it important that we offer a wide range of advisory services?

Our accountant partners require a depth of expertise to effectively serve their clients’ requirements and remove the need to seek advice elsewhere. Moreover, the current Covid-19 challenges mean that organisations need diverse advice to ensure their business receives the full range of support available.

In-depth: tax investigations

Taking just one of our specialisms, we can reveal a published case where our Director of Tax Investigations, Nathan Ross-Sercombe, led a cutting edge case, successfully defending the client against unwarranted HMRC advances:

Markel Tax advised Mr McMillan in the recent FTT decision Simon James McMillan [2018] TC 03387. Mr McMillan has been successful in his appeal against multiple HMRC assessments. HMRC had asserted that Mr McMillan’s gambling winnings were really taxable trading income.
HMRC argued that they had identified a source based on circumstantial evidence in the form of deposits into Mr McMillan’s bank accounts. HMRC advanced this argument contrary to the changes in their own guidance following Ashraf [2018] TC 06355, in which they similarly failed to identify the source of the income they were attempting to assess.
Central to the case were the way in which cash was deposited and the provision of evidence of gambling.
HMRC said that the revised guidance (following the Ashraf case) did not apply to this case because they could see bank deposits. Our analysis did not support HMRC’s proposition. In our view, the frequency and amount of bank deposits suggested the gradual deposit of a large cash hoard and did not support the deposit of regular earnings at the time those earnings were received.
We sought witness evidence, detailed explanations of the gambling methodology used by the client and published evidence of the success of other individuals making money from gambling. HMRC tried to dismantle our arguments, with little focus on advancing a strong argument for trading, whereas we focused on advancing a positive argument for trading and attacking their arguments.
We worked closely with counsel, but the detailed analysis work fell to us.
In counsel’s view, we provided him with “excellent support, with a real interest in getting to the bottom of the evidence and [did] whatever it [took] to win the case”.

Collaborating geographically and across tax issues

Diverse expertise and three strategically-placed offices—in Rugby, Sheffield and London—allows the Markel Tax team to serve clients country-wide and collaborate on complex issues. We have seen many examples where teams have been able to bring in individuals who can offer a different opinion to a problem, thereby delivering maximum benefit to the client.

Markel Tax offers our clients a wide range of specialist tax advisory solutions from one team. As we celebrate our award success we always remember that our clients are the reason why we are here, a thought that drives us to do better each day.

Tagged Specialist Tax Consultancy Incentives and Reliefs Employer solutions
Next article in series

20 May 2020

Your Partner in Tax: we’re delivering on the message