The PRTC table had a great night out at the 2014 ‘TAXATION AWARDS’ which was held at The HIlton On Park Lane Hotel, London.

The enjoyment of the evening was enhanced by me picking up the ‘Tax Writer Of The Year’ award (see post below).  I was especially touched to receive this email (extract) afterwards from one of our guests:

“Thank you so much for inviting me and allowing me to share with you what was a wonderful evening.
To be honest, when they announced you as winner I felt an overwhelming gush of emotion and found myself dabbing my eyes!”

We were also proud to sponsor the after-show Jazz Lounge (featured in photos below) and the award for ‘Regional Tax Practice Of The Year’ (which was won by Lamont Pridmore).

As a table host, it was lovely to see all our guests getting on so well (with two even touching tongues – but I won’t go there!).

The food was great and, once again, we had some great entertainment.  The main celebrity host was Stephen Mangan (best known for his TV roles as Guy Secretan in Green Wing and Sean Lincoln in Episodes), pictured below:

Stephen Managan at Tax Awards 2014

We also had an hilarious ventriloquist act mid-away between the award ceremony.  This was the superb Nina Conti, who had us all in stitches, with her sinister monkey ‘Monk’.  Even funnier was when Nina asked a female member of the audience to try on a dummy-mask (who had no control of what was she was saying) – as shown below:

Nina Conti at Tax Awards

The after-show party provided various entertainments to suit all tastes.  We were proud to have supported Rachael Henshaw and her Jazz Band – see photo below:

Jazz Band at Tax Awards 2_2014

Rachael and her band played out many great jazz classics until 1.30am – and then it was time for bed…

Here are some other photos from a truly memorable night:

Joey & Patricia_Tax Awards 2014

Joey and Patricia

Pat, Frankie & Roy_Tax Awards 2014

Patricia, Frankie and Roy

Benny at Tax Awards_2014


Table at Tax Awards_2014

The PRTC Table

Peter with Jazz Band_Tax Awards 2014

Peter and Jazz Band (singer – Rachael Henshaw)

Peter + Jazz Lounge_Tax Awards 2014

Proud sponsor of the Jazz Lounge

Me With 'Tax Writer Of The Year' Award

Me With ‘Tax Writer Of The Year’ Award

Patricia presenting the 'Regional Tax Practice' Of The Year Award

Patricia presenting the ‘Regional Tax Practice’ Of      The Year Award

Patricia & Peter all dressed-up

Patricia & Peter all dressed-up

Details of all the winners from the official TAXATION website are as follows:

Winners 2014

Deloitte Global Employer Services Energy & Resources Tax Team
Mazars London Private Client Team
British Sky Broadcasting Group
(Highly commended: TfL Tax Team)
Deloitte Global Employer Services Energy & Resources Tax Team
John Avery Jones
Margaret Hodge MP
Ximena Montes Manzano, Atlas Tax Chambers
Goodman Jones
(Highly commended: Berg Kaprow Lewis)
Temple Tax Chambers
(Highly commended: Atlas Tax Chambers)
Crowe Clark Whitehill
Lamont Pridmore
PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal
Grant Thornton Corporate & International Tax Team
Peter Rayney, Peter Rayney Tax Consulting
Francis Clark


I was so so pleased to win the highly sought after ‘Tax Writer of The Year – 2014’  award at the TAXATION awards, against some very stiff competition.

The big screen shot just after it was announced..

Tax Writer Of The Year-screen photo_ 2014

This was the moment just after I collected my trophy from Natalie Miller, with Chris Jones and celebrity Stephen Mangan assisting in the proceedings.


Tax writer of the year_2014

Peter with Tax Writer Award at Tax Awards 2014

And some of the more formal photos for the Tax Awards Brochure –

Peter with Natalie Miller - President ATT_Tax Awards 2014Tax writer of the yearI was also proud that my firm, Peter Rayney Tax Consulting Ltd, was short listed in the ‘Tax Consultancy Firm Of The Year’ category – the worthy winners were Gabelle.


RADIO 2 – STEVE WRIGHT’S NON-STOP OLDIES – 3pm Friday 16 May 2014

I was so pleased to be able to choose the Non-Stop Oldies on the Steve Wright Show on Friday 16 May 2014.

Many of you have emailed to say how much you enjoyed my eclectic selection from the early 70s and the place these songs have in my musically formative years.

Peter _ Golden Oldies - 16 May 2014

Since this is only a half an hour slot, Steve could only play a selection from the 30 songs I was required to choose.  Many of you have asked to see my full selection of 30 tracks, so here goes (* = actually played on show):

1.  Jerusalem – Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2.  Blue Guitar – Justin Hayward & John Lodge
3.  Friends – Arrival
4.  Solid State Brain – Chris Rainbow
5.  I Believe In You – Gallagher & Lyle
6.  Soley Soley – Middle of the Road
7.  He’s Misstra Know It All – Stevie Wonder
8.  Everything Changes – Lesley Duncan
9.  Take To The Mountains – Richard Barnes
10. The Guitar Man – Bread
11. Superbird – Sedaka
12. The Best Is Yet To Come – Clifford T Ward
13  Wonderful Dream – Ann-Marie David
14  Jig A Jig – East Of Eden
15  Pinball – Brian Protheroe
16. Shannon – Henry Gross
17. Teenage Lament 74 – Alison Cooper
18  It’s A Game – String Driven Thing
19  El Doomo – Ellis
20  A Walkin Miracle – Limmie & The Family Cookin’
21  The Year Of The Cat – Al Stewart
22  The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – Joan Baez
23  Stardust – David Essex
24  Everyday  –  Slade
25  Without You – Nilsson
26  Part Of The Union – The Strawbs
27  Nothing Rhymed – Gilbert O’ Sullivan
28  Softly Whispering I Love You – The Congregation
29  I’m Still Waiting – Diana Ross
30  Jackie Blue – Ozark Mountain Daredevils


Sam At West Ham Dinner

Our guests all had a hugely enjoyable night at the West Ham United Player Awards Dinner held at the Grosvenor Hotel on Park Lane.

West Ham Group

The event, hosted by TV personality – Ben Sheppard – was very entertaining, and it was great to be ‘rubbing shoulders’ with David Gold, David Sullivan, Karen Brady, Big Sam and the first team squad.

The auctioneer, Jonny Gould, had everyone in stitches as he cleverly managed to extract cash with the subtle use of personal guilt, setting-up strong competitive battles, and down-right cheekiness.  He even managed to secure £10,000 from Andy Carroll – his prize being to play a game of FIFA on the big screen at Upton Park with up to 50 friends!

There were a number of awards which included Hammer of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year – both of which were deservedly picked up by Mark Noble.  It was perhaps not surprising to see first choice goalie, Adrian, take the Save of the Season award!

It was lovely to see Sir Trevor Brooking pick up the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’

West Ham dinner ticketOur guests particularly liked having their pictures taken with the players.

Trevor Brooking_May 2014 It was a great personal privilege to meet the legendary Sir Trevor Brooking


Extract from article for AccountancyLive – April 2014

Peter Rayney assesses the implications of the Court of Appeal’s refusal to back Mehjoo’s case. The case of Mehjoo v Harben Barker [2004] EWCA Civ 358 has very important implications for the scope of the duty of care owed to clients when giving advice

So it is not surprising that accountants, tax advisers and lawyers have been following the developments in this case with keen interest. The key facts of the case are summarised below.

The High Court had previously ruled that Mehjoo’s accountants, Harben Barker (HB), a firm of chartered accountants with offices in the West Midlands, had been negligent. It found that, since Mehjoo was very likely to be non-UK domiciled, this would have a bearing on his capital gains tax (CGT) liability. HB should therefore have advised him to seek advice from a non-dom tax specialist.  The judge indicated that he was not a tax expert and that the case should have been heard by a tax judge. However, he concluded that had Mehjoo sought specialist advice, he would have learned about the Bearer Warrant Scheme (BWS) and would have been able to avoid the CGT on the sale of his company.

Court of Appeal reversal

In the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Patten was not so convinced. A key finding was that Mehjoo had accepted in evidence that he would not have gone ahead with the BWS if he had been advised that there was a substantial risk of it being challenged by HMRC.

Lord Justice Patten focused on the terms of HB’s engagement letter with Mehjoo, since an adviser’s duty of care depended on what they had been instructed to do. Based on the terms of its engagement letter, its obligations to provide tax planning advice were limited. However, as is so often the case in practice, HB had created an implied duty of care to provide tax planning advice to Mehjoo, since it had done so on prior occasions.

However, Lord Justice Patten disagreed with the earlier High Court judgment in several important respects. Applying the important test of the hypothetical ‘reasonably competent accountant’, he found that Mehjoo’s non-dom status could not influence the CGT on the sale of his UK shares unless the accountant knew how it was (potentially) possible to change the situs of the UK registered shares into overseas assets. Lord Justice Patten said: ‘As this was something which HB neither knew nor could have been expected to know was achievable, there was no reason to mention the matter, still less a liability in negligence for not having done so.’

Many accountants will be relieved at the more commercial approach adopted by the Court of Appeal. The question of negligence and duty of care is always tested against the hypothetical yardstick of the reasonably competent accountant

He then went on to conclude that, in advising Mehjoo about the tax consequences of selling his UK shares, the reasonably competent accountant would not have been under any obligation to discuss Mehjoo’s domicile status unless it was relevant to the CGT liability on the contemplated disposal. In short, HB was not under any duty to advise Mehjoo ‘…about significant tax advantages which, to their reasonable knowledge, did not exist’.

Furthermore, since HB could not be expected to have knowledge of the BWS scheme, it had no obligation to tell Mehjoo to consult a non-dom specialist.

Commercial approach

It is important to understand that the ruling in the Mehjoo case turned on its own specific and specialised facts. Nevertheless, many accountants will be relieved at the more commercial approach adopted by the Court of Appeal. The question of negligence and duty of care is always tested against the hypothetical yardstick of the reasonably competent accountant. Thus, there will be some areas of tax law and practice of which a reasonably competent accountant is expected to have a reasonable working knowledge. And, of course, for the specialist tax adviser the bar is raised even higher.

It is possible to argue that the Mehjoo case was played out against a different legal and moral backdrop, well before Starbucks, Jimmy Carr and the General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR). Many accountants would, quite rightly, counsel against aggressive tax schemes that have little prospect of success. Furthermore, all accountants now have an ethical obligation not to bring their professional body into disrepute by engaging in dodgy tax schemes.

The Mehjoo case reminds us of the importance of having the right engagement letter in place and the need to clearly state what the firm undertakes to provide in terms of professional services.

As someone who advises accountants on specialist tax matters, I always say that rather than ‘going it alone’, it always pays to seek expert advice early on when the need has been identified. This is so much better and less expensive than sorting out the proverbial mess later on.

Summary of the facts

  • Hossein Mehjoo was born in Iran to Iranian parents in 1959. He was sent to school in the UK in 1971 and had been UK resident since then.
  • Mehjoo’s accountants, Harben Barker (HB), had acted for him since the 1980s and had a good understanding of his family background and so on.
  • In 2004, Mehjoo planned to sell his co-owned company and took advice from HB on various tax planning schemes.
  • The company was sold in April 2005 and Mehjoo realised a gain of £8.5m, which after business asset taper relief, resulted in a CGT liability of £850,000.
  • HB did not consider the possibility of Mehjoo being non-UK domiciled and that appropriate specialist tax advice should have been sought. Mehjoo’s potential non-UK domicile status was first discussed in June 2005 and HMRC agreed his non-dom status in April 2006 (via the previous DOM 1 procedure).
  • Mehjoo had subsequently learnt that he could (at the time) have used the Bearer Warrant Scheme (BWS), which would have converted his UK shares to a non-UK holding. As a non-dom, this would have enabled him to take advantage of the remittance basis and thus could have avoided his CGT liability.
  • Mehjoo claimed that HB had acted negligently since they did not refer him to a ‘non-dom’ tax specialist or alert him to the BWS (which at the time was considered legal, but has since been blocked by legislation). Had he done so, Mehjoo claimed that he would have avoided his CGT liability.

Peter Rayney FCA, CTA,TEP runs an independent tax consultancy, Peter Rayney Tax Consulting