Part I: Introduction to UK Tax Law

Background, Theory, Sources and Setting of the Tax System

1. What are the objectives and functions of taxation?

2. How do we distinguish tax from other payments? Why might this matter?

3. What Criteria can be used in assessing a tax?

4. Would expenditure or consumption be a preferable base to income for taxation?

5. What is meant by the 'benefit principle' and 'ability to pay'?

6. Is the UK income tax progressive? What are the advantages and disadvantages of a progressive tax in tax policy terms?

7. How confident can taxpayers be when relying on HMRC guidance?

8. How much discretion should HMRC have in settling disputes with taxpayers?

9. In what circumstances can the Upper Tribunal or a higher court reverse the First-tier Tribunal? Is the scope for reversal too narrow?

Tax Avoidance

1. What is the difference tax evasion, avoidance, mitigation, planning? Is there a difference between legitimate and illegitimate avoidance?

2. What is a sham?

3. What was the true ratio of the Westminster case?

4. Is Furniss v Dawson reconcilable with Duke of Westminster?

5. What is a pre-ordained series of transactions?

6. Is it possible to tell whether a word is being used in its juristic or its commercial sense?  Is this distinction any longer relevant?

7. Does the Ramsay doctrine still exist? If so, is it a rule of statutory construction?

8. What are the problems with judicial intervention as seen here?  Can these problems be avoided by general anti-avoidance legislation?

9. What are the key features of the UK GAAR? Did the UK need to enact the GAAR?

10. What are the difficulties with specific anti-avoidance legislation?

11. Do you agree that the introduction of rules on follower notices, accelerated payments and high-risk promoters was necessary?