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Mercury rising

20 May 2009 / Pete Miller
Issue: 4206 / Categories: Comment & Analysis , HMRC powers , Admin
PETE MILLER considers the messages that can be decoded from two recent cases concerning HMRC powers


  • HMRC obtained search warrants in an ex parte hearing.
  • Warrants are quashed on appeal as unlawful.
  • The importance of correct implementation of schemes.
  • Is a dividend right a ‘financial product’?
  • The relevance of counsel’s opinion to penalty charges.

Mercury Tax Group has been in the tax news recently having been successful in two cases against HMRC where the department’s use of administrative powers was challenged.

One case concerned HMRC’s use of powers to enter and search properties while the other was about penalties under the disclosure of tax avoidance schemes (DoTAS) rules.

Both cases are useful demonstrations of the checks and balances within the system and particularly in respect of the first case will be at least as important under the new HMRC powers regime – introduced with...

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