Tax affects all commercial businesses and transactions. It's often one of the largest costs of a transaction but isn't always managed to the same degree as a lot of the other costs. This is partly due to the complexity of the constantly evolving UK tax system. Technical legislation, combined with the time constraints and the impact of individual circumstances, can often mean that a proper review and consideration of the tax consequences is left until late on or even after a transaction has completed, when the options may be limited.
Our expert tax solicitors provide practical and commercial tax advisory and support services for individuals and businesses including advice in relation to:
- Corporate transactions (mergers, acquisitions and reorganisations)
- Investments and accessing investment reliefs (EIS and VCT)
- Property transactions (ranging from residential and commercial property investments to lease renewals and surrenders, joint ventures and development projects) including SDLT issues arising
- Joint ventures and public/private sector partnerships
- Shareholder disputes and tax-related professional negligence claims
- Employee share schemes and incentives; and
- Employment status issues
Particular areas of specialism and expertise of our tax advisory team include:
- Advising on the design and implementation of employee incentives;
- Advising on tax-efficient corporate restructurings including demergers and capital reductions;
- Providing legal tax support to other professional advisers;
- Working with public sector bodies to provide tax-efficient models for joint ventures and collaborative operations.
Failing to keep pace with changes to the tax code is a key business risk that can have material financial consequences, whether through interest charges and penalties from compliance failures or by missing out on claiming tax reliefs and exemptions. Timely tax advice can generate real cost savings and provide measurable added value.
Considering the tax position and seeking advice at the outset, before the structure or terms of the transaction are agreed, will increase the opportunity to save costs and manage any risks. Our tax solicitors have helped to restructure numerous transactions for our clients that have delivered millions of pounds worth of tax savings and reliefs.
We understand, however, that you need commercial as well as technical advice. We cut through the complex technical language to get to the heart of the issue, discuss the relevant options with you in plain terms and provide practical advice. We also help to implement transactions to ensure that the contractual documentation is drafted to achieve the desired effect. What we don't do is advocate the use of tax avoidance structures (that promise big savings only to result in lengthy disputes with HMRC and reputational damage) or forget that tax is just one aspect of the bigger picture.
As well as offering standalone tax support and advice, we also work closely with other practice areas and advisors to provide a coordinated approach. For example, on the sale by an individual of shares in a trading company or group, it is important to also consider the inheritance tax implications and in this respect, we work closely with our Wills, Trusts and Estates team who can provide advice on inheritance tax and succession planning arrangements that will help reduce or eliminate future inheritance tax exposures.
With the reduction in corporation tax rates, we have also seen a rise in the use of family investment companies (FICs) as an alternative to discretionary trusts as a means of passing wealth to children whilst still retaining control over the relevant cash and assets.