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Extent of client engagement letter

11 June 2020
Issue: 4748 / Categories: Tax cases
McMahon v Grant Thornton UK LLP, Court of Session, 26 May 2020

The pursuer (M) was the sole shareholder in Lomond Motors Ltd which with two wholly owned subsidiaries formed the Lomond Group. In July 2012 M sold his shares to Lookers Motor Group incurring a substantial liability to CGT on the disposal.

The defender GT provided tax and accountancy services to Lomond and to M. M said GT should have told him to transfer some of the shares to his wife so she would have become eligible for entrepreneurs’ relief. He said his letter of engagement with GT for personal tax services included an express term that the firm would advise him on tax planning ideas that might be of assistance to him.

The Court of Session found that the engagement letter covered tax compliance services. It clearly distinguished between those services and ‘separate ad hoc planning and advice’ which would require a separate agreement. Further ...

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