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Navigating the Tax Landscape: Key Insights From UK Courts in 2023

In this podcast, the ninth in Weil, Gotshal & Manges Tax Insight series, partner Oliver Walker and professional support lawyer Erica Rees provide a summary of some of the most significant UK tax decisions from 2023.

Published on 15 January 2024
Oliver Walker, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Chambers Expert Focus
Oliver Walker
Ranked in Chambers UK: Tax
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The speakers touch upon the activation of Pillar 2 and the 15% global minimum tax rate in the UK, the impact of the spring budget and autumn statement, and noteworthy consultations such as the proposed modernisation of stamp duty on shares.

Vermilion and M Group Holdings

They then delve into specific case law developments from 2023. Notable cases discussed include the Vermilion share option case, where the Supreme Court ruled in favour of HMRC regarding the taxation of share options, emphasising the broad scope of legislation and potential tax implications for share schemes. The related M Group Holdings case also is explored, highlighting the challenges faced in relying on the substantial shareholding exemption (SSE) when the subsidiary has not been held for the required 12-month period. The podcast underscores the importance of adhering to bright line requirements in tax matters.


The Euromoney case is also covered, focusing on the Court of Appeal’s decision regarding rollover relief and the application of the SSE in private equity transactions. HMRC’s contention that the scheme had the main purpose of tax avoidance is discussed, including the court’s emphasis on distinguishing between components of a transaction and assessing the main purpose of the overall scheme.


In the Wilkinson case, daughters of majority shareholders sought to benefit from entrepreneurs’ relief through a strategic exchange of securities. The speakers explain the court’s ruling on the distinct nature of the exchange within the broader commercial arrangement, emphasising the need to consider anti-avoidance provisions holistically.

Looking Ahead to 2024

Towards the end of the podcast, the discussion touches on other ongoing cases related to the unallowable purpose test for loan relationships and upcoming decisions that promise further developments in tax law.

The podcast concludes with a brief mention of the upcoming general election and the potential impact of changes in government on tax policies, especially concerning issues such as carried interest. The next twelve months certainly promise to be a dynamic period for tax law.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges

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