Now, Gaines-Cooper is back and is ready to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court.
The Seychelles based British multi-millionaire is right at the heart of a long-running battle with HMRC over his status within the UK.
Although the entrepreneur left the UK in 1976, he is being pursued for tax dating back to 1982 under an interpretation of UK law that could be applied to other tax exiles.
Gaines-Cooper is determined to fight his case all the way as it raises vital issues of consistency and fairness for all taxpayers.
The businessman strongly refutes claims he is attempting to evade tax but insists the ’law has got to be made clear’.
“The lack of transparency in the UK tax system means that no taxpayer can rely on guidance from the UK tax authorities.”
Mr Gaines-Cooper said that since leaving Britain in ’76 he has obeyed the rules of not spending more than 90 days a year in the country in order to qualify for non-resident status and tax benefits.
However, in February, judges at the High Court decided that as Mr Gaines-Cooper still had significant ties to Britain, HMRC were entitled to deny him non-resident status and pursue him for the backdated tax.
According to the judges, there were ‘ample’ grounds for HMRC to argue that Gaines-Cooper was still officially a UK resident.
Despite this appeal ruling, the case is set to go on with lawyers and tax advisers backing Gaines-Cooper and his brave battle.
Criticism of HMRC’s guidance and legislation has been widely publicised and with the taxman’s guidance being described as ‘cryptic’.
Gaines-Cooper’s lawyer, Peter Vaines, has highlighted the importance of the case saying that there needs to be firmer specific guidance in order that taxpayers aren’t caught out.
Ironically, both of Gaines-Cooper’s parents were British tax inspectors and so it seems almost fitting that he should be the one to fight a landmark case right to the end.