Film scheme investors granted appeal in HMRC tax avoidance ruling

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More than 150 investors in film partnership schemes have been granted permission to appeal a High Court ruling which found in favour of HM Revenue & Customs.

In July, the court rejected the investors’ attempt to challenge the legality of demands by HMRC to pay disputed tax upfront.

The claimants claimed tax relief after investing in Ingenious Media schemes. Almost 10 years later they were served with payment notices by HMRC.

HMRC began issuing accelerated payment notices in July 2014 after being given new powers by the Government.

The notices allow HMRC to demand payment of disputed tax associated with a tax avoidance scheme upfront.

Previously, an individual could appeal the decision through a tribunal and would not have to pay until HMRC won through the courts.

Individuals can still appeal through a tribunal but must pay the tax upfront and will only be refunded, with interest, if they win.

Lead investors Nigel Rowe and Alec Worrall received payment notices for £270,100 and £96,400, respectively.

The investors claimed the notices were unlawful and HMRC was out of time to recover any tax. However, the judge ruled the notices were lawfully issued.

The Court of Appeal has now given the investors permission to appeal the decision.

Lord Justice Floyd said: “The issues are plainly sufficiently important to be considered by the full court, and the grounds have a real prospect of success.”

A spokesman for HMRC says it does not comment on cases in the process of litigation.