In a tax investigation case thought to be worth an estimated £30 million, Gaines-Cooper is fighting against the High Courts February 2010 decision that he qualified as a UK resident – and therefore is liable to pay for a back dated tax bill.
Robert Gaines-Cooper was born and lived in Britain until 1976, when he left the UK for the sunnier skies of the Seychelles.
Since leaving Britain Gaines-Cooper has abided by the HMRC guidance to qualify for non-resident status and tax benefits – staying no longer than 91 days in the UK each year.
Despite following government rules, in 2006 HMRC classed Gaines-Cooper as a UK resident due to significant ties in Britain, including a large estate within the UK and regular trips to Ascot.
Commenting on his appeal against the High Court judgement, Gaines-Cooper, said:
“It’s a mystery why this case has come so far over so many years and ended up in the Supreme Court, when all I sought was fairness and the right to rely on published guidance from HMRC when planning my tax affairs.
“I have every confidence in my advisors and in the British legal system and so will be following proceedings over the coming days with interest, as you may imagine.”
Robert Gaines-Cooper’s fight against the HMRC has led to increased criticism over unclear rules on tax residency.
Despite the 91-day non-residency rule, there is no official definition, with cases like Gaines-Coopers being individually assessed.
HMRC last month issued a consultation on a statutory residency test, which it hopes will resolve the issue.
The Gains-Cooper case began on July 7th and a decision is set to be made in the next 12 weeks.
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