Year of Call: 2004

Inn: Lincoln Inn

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A much-admired junior whose broad practice encompasses cases concerning VAT, corporation tax, stamp duty land tax and capital gains tax. He also acts in employment-related tax matters. ‘He is very pragmatic and he always finds a solution.’ ”

Chambers UK,  2018
Tax

George has specialised in tax disputes throughout his time as a barrister. He ‘cut his teeth’ in-house with HM Customs & Excise and HM Revenue & Customs before moving to successful independent practice. Historically the majority of his tax instructions came from HMRC, but in recent years he has built a strong following amongst private-sector solicitors, accountants and tax advisors. Most of his tax work is now on behalf of private clients, trustees and small-to-medium-sized businesses.

George’s main areas of tax expertise are:

  • Capital gains tax
  • Employment-related taxes and employee benefit trusts;
  • Inheritance tax
  • Value added tax
  • Penalties
  • Tax avoidance schemes and APNs
  • Judicial review claims against HMRC
  • Tax-related professional negligence

George can provide advice and support at all stages of a tax dispute, from advising on merits and drafting persuasive letters to HMRC during an enquiry, to bringing and pursuing a tribunal appeal if necessary. He offers a ‘one-stop-shop’ service for solicitors, accountants and tax advisors who do not specialise in tax litigation. This provides a cost-effective solution where challenging HMRC might otherwise be prohibitively expensive.

George has been recommended as a Leading Junior in Chambers & Partners and Legal 500. Chambers & Partners has praised his “extensive experience of handling tax disputes, especially those involving VAT, PAYE and inheritance tax”. Legal 500 has said he is “a tenacious, confident and persuasive advocate” and is “recommended for tax and professional negligence matters.”

George is the joint author of Tax Penalties: A Practitioner’s Guide (Sweet & Maxwell, 2017, 781pp). He is also a contributing editor of Simon’s Taxes (LexisNexis)jointly responsible for rewriting the 70,000-word Penalties Division.

Recent cases include: 

  • CGT: appeal concerning incorporation relief and £280,000 penalty.
  • CGT: advising owner of £3.5m property on principal private residence relief.
  • Employee benefit trusts: advising PLC on dispute over tax relating to £2.7m offshore fund.
  • Employee benefit trusts: advising administrator on tax assessments of £3.8m
  • IHT: dispute over agricultural occupation and other issues relating to APR.
  • IHT: dispute over ‘character appropriate’ test and other issues relating to APR.
  • IHT: dispute over business valuation for BPR purposes.
  • PAYE: appeal against £250,000 assessment imposed on director of insolvent company.
  • Tax avoidance: advising on tax and NIC assessments resulting from failed film partnership scheme.
  • VAT: dispute over entitlement to deduct input tax, leading to two-week trial.
  • VAT: civil fraud case with £3.4m at stake, leading to five-week trial (with leader).
  • VAT: dispute over entitlement to deduct input tax of £7.6m (with leader).
  • VAT: appeal and judicial review challenging £1.4m output tax assessments raised against 200-member taxi drivers’ association.

Appointments:

  • Attorney-General’s Regional Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown since 2008 (re-appointed in 2010 and 2015)
  • Lincoln’s Inn, Hardwicke Award
  • Government Legal Service Scholarship

Professional memberships:

  • Northern Chancery Bar Association
  • Bar Pro Bono Unit

Qualifications & awards:

  • Magdalen College, Oxford (MA (Oxon))
  • City University (Dip. Law (Distinction), MA in Law