Gaines-Cooper Fails in Supreme Court

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 Print Email

Robert Gaines-Cooper, the international businessman, has lost his Supreme Court appeal over his tax residency status.

It upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision that Gaines-Cooper was a UK resident, although he spent most of his time in the Seychelles.

The 73-year-old left the UK in 1976 but was pursued for tax backdated to 1982 under residency guidance IR20.

Judges at the Appeal Court decided that HMRC was justified in denying him non-resident tax status and pursuing him for backdated tax on the grounds he was still officially resident.

The latest news was welcomed by accounting professionals.

Alex Henderson, partner at PwC, said: ‘Today’s judgment was ultimately about whether HMRC guidance can be relied upon by taxpayers. Gaines-Cooper had followed what he thought were the rules of residency but HMRC had claimed its guidance was not binding. Yet it’s always been the case that the underlying law needs to be considered, as the revenue’s guidance is exactly that – guidance.

‘Clarification on this issue is welcome, even if it’s come at the 11th hour since we expect to have a statutory residency test next year.’

He added: ‘The case highlights that the century old tax code on residency has not kept pace with modern life.’

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