VAT and indirect tax in London

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie's large VAT practice has in recent years had a strong focus on helping large businesses cope with the after-effects of Brexit. The team advises companies on international VAT mandates, including those relating to M&A deals and tax enquiries with HMRC. The overall tax team is led by VAT specialist Mark Delaney, who works primarily in the technology, international trade and energy sectors. The VAT specific division is led by Mark Agnew, who brings knowledge of finance, banking and payment services. David Jamieson specialises in contentious VAT work, with a focus on telecoms, e-commerce and finance. Adam Peacock advises on all aspects of VAT and indirect tax, with a focus on M&A, real estate and restructuring. Kathryn Sewell has more than a decade of experience working on the VAT aspects of reorganisations, planning and structuring.

Practice head(s):

Mark Delaney; Mark Agnew; David Jamieson

Other key lawyers:

Adam Peacock; Kathryn Sewell


‘Extremely practical and commercial. Exception client care. Very knowledgeable.’

‘The stand-out feature of the Baker McKenzie VAT team is its breadth of experience. The team comprises lawyers qualified across jurisdictions, which is so important given their strong client base of large multinationals. This is a go-to team in the banking and financial service sector, the envy of many competitors. The team foster their close relationship with their FS client base through initiatives such as their Financial Services VAT and Wine Group; always a great success!’

‘David Jamieson is an inspirational figure. He combines depth of knowledge with an easy manner that puts clients at ease and earns their respect.’

Key clients

Baker Hughes


Hutchison 3G Limited


Clifford Chance LLP

Clifford Chance LLP works on complex VAT and indirect tax matters across sectors including real estate, insurance and pensions. The team is led by David Saleh, who advises on both contentious and non-contentious VAT and indirect tax, covering real estate and international tax structuring. Director Simon Corzberg advises and assists clients on cases in sectors such as finance, energy and charity. Senior associate Edward Page advises on tax considerations with regards to acquisitions, joint ventures and cross-border investments.

Practice head(s):

David Saleh

Other key lawyers:

Simon Corzberg; Edward Page

Key clients

Heimstaden Bostad

EQT Exeter

Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations

Allianz Real Estate

Mitsui Fudosan (UK) Limited

Bank of Scotland


Work highlights

  • Represented Heimstaden Bostad on tax aspects of its acquisition of Soho Wharf in Birmingham for £160m from Apsley House Capital and Galliard Homes.
  • Advised EQT Exeter on tax aspects of the sale for approximately €3bn of a 2.2 million square metre logistics portfolio consisting of 132 properties (of which 20 are located in the UK and the others in Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and Poland) by the EQT Exeter sponsored private real estate fund Exeter Europe Value Venture III.
  • Advised Allianz Real Estate on tax aspects of their 50:50 development joint venture with Ivanhoe Cambridge for the redevelopment of Stonecutter Court in Farringdon, London.


Ashurst provides strategic and transactional VAT and stamp duty land tax (SDLT) advice to clients working in insurance, leisure and transport, among other areas. The team is led by Simon Swann, who is a member of the Stamp Taxes Practitioners’ Group and the British Property Federation’s VAT Committee; he focuses on real estate matters for a range of public and private sector clients on both the investment and development sides. Nicholas Gardner focuses on private equity, Paul Miller advises on debt capital markets and structured finance products, and Tim Gummer works on natural resources tax alongside real estate tax.

Practice head(s):

Simon Swann

Other key lawyers:

Nicholas Gardner; Paul Miller; Tim Gummer

Key clients

Roebuck Asset Management

ARA Dunedin

Arax Properties

Berkeley Homes

Telford Homes

McLaren Group Limited

CDL Hospitality Trusts (CDLHT)

BAE Systems plc (“BAE”)


Work highlights

  • Advised McLaren on the £170m sale and leaseback of their innovative and world-renowned headquarters including the McLaren Technology Centre, the McLaren Production Centre and the McLaren Thought Leadership Centre (Woking, Surrey) to Global Net Lease.
  • Represented Telford Homes in its proposed regeneration of Chrisp Street Market in Tower Hamlets to deliver a new mixed use regional centre to deliver 650 new homes, new shops and a cinema.
  • Advising Singaporean group, ARA Dunedin Asset Management on its purchase of the landmark mixed-use London development, Marble Arch Place. The transaction included a complex cross-border restructuring with significant UK and Luxembourg VAT and SDLT issues to be navigated together with bespoke W&I insurance arrangements in connection with the reorganisation.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner handles contentious and non-contentious VAT and indirect tax work for both domestic and international clients, primarily in the real estate and construction sectors. The global tax practice is led by Elizabeth Bradley, who works with a mix of new and longstanding clients and sovereign wealth funds, while the 'masterfulAlan Sinyor is the firm's head of VAT - he has decades-long experience in VAT and indirect tax and has dual qualifications as a chartered accountant and barrister and solicitor. Kate Ison works exclusively in contentious tax.

Practice head(s):

Elizabeth Bradley

Other key lawyers:

Alan Sinyor; Kate Ison


‘We dealt with Alan Sinyor on a particular VAT matter. The whole matter went very smoothly from first contact until the end. He always responded in good time, we had a few phone calls with him where he heard our views and he was clear with his responses.’

‘Alan Sinyor stands out as a truly outstanding VAT advisor. He is always available to help us with our VAT issues. His technical skills are first rate and he is very client-friendly. I would recommend him to anyone and everyone.’

‘The team are very efficient and forthcoming and quick to respond.’

‘Alan Sinyor has been our adviser on various VAT issues. I found that Alan grasped the situation and came up with clear decisive and well thought through advise. Alan is forwarding thinking and outstanding in his clarity.’

‘Alan Sinyor leads the VAT team. He is exceptionally good – a real VAT veteran who looks at all problems from a creative perspective. The VAT team works well with the litigation team, deferring to them at appropriate statues in any dispute.’

‘Kate Ison is fiercely practical and not afraid to change tack if that is what the case requires. Many lack the courage to do so.’

‘Alan Sinyor has distinguished himself with extraordinary talents & decades-long experience in VAT & Indirect tax specialism. He has dual qualifications as a chartered accountant and barrister/solicitor. That certainly shine through the high confidence and sharp precision with which he delivers legal advice and technical expertise.’

‘Alan Sinyor is an expert VAT advisor whose advice is always practical, precise, timely and honest. His consistent professionalism, good judgement and collaborative nature have earned him the trust and admiration of our entire team.’


CMS works across a wide range of cases, covering tax matters largely in real estate as well as mining and entertainment. The practice is jointly led by Stephen Hignett, who works on TV, music and gambling matters, and Aaron Fairhurst, whose work has an emphasis on energy, infrastructure and corporate recovery. Anna Burchner has handled several high-value cases in the mining sector. Phil Nicklin , who is head of REITs and structured transactions, joined from Deloitte Legal.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Hignett; Aaron Fairhurst

Other key lawyers:

Anna Burchner; Phil Nicklin; Jacob Gilkes


‘The team is technically very strong –  they proactively consider issues to manage issues before they arise.’

‘The team takes time to understand the wider background to ensure that their advice is accurate and specifically tailored to the unique circumstances of the transaction/issue. They work collaboratively with us as a business to minimise costs but still providing a high standard of client service and advice. They are willing to be flexible to fit our pattern of working.’

‘On indirect tax (VAT and SDLT) we work with Jacob Gilkes. We trust the advice that he provides as he is very thorough and always checks that he has understood the wider commercial position on which he is advising. He is proactive and assists us from the conceptual start of projects through to the detailed stages of completing the transaction and post completion finalisation of matters relating to VAT/SDLT to ensure that throughout the process we have followed the steps required to achieve the intended tax result. He provides very clear written tax steps and advice which set out complex tax matters in a clear, concise manner which can be understood by different levels in the organisation.’

Key clients

William Fry


DTZ Investment Management

Capital & Regional Plc


Willis Towers Watson


Hogan Lovells LLP

Aviva Investors



National Grid

Work highlights

  • Advising Gamesys Limited on the remote gaming duty implications of certain customer incentives offered through their B2C website.
  • Advising Capital & General in relation to the redevelopment of the Walthamstow shopping centre, including developing a complex structure which managed various stamp duty and SDLT constraints, whilst also managing the implications of the VAT anti-avoidance rules and construction industry scheme in relation to the arrangements with Long Harbour.
  • Advised on the complex VAT and SDLT aspects of Hogan Lovells’ pre-let agreement to take up space at Royal London Asset Management’s upcoming Holborn Viaduct scheme.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper advises major clients on a wide range of high-profile cases, and in the aftermath of Brexit, the practice has developed its focus on work relating to supply chains. The team is led by the highly regarded Richard Woolich, a chartered tax adviser with a focus on international real estate transactions, joint ventures and funds, whose ‘knowledge is unparalleled‘. The team has recently significantly expanded with a series of hires from Pinsent Masons LLP, including  Jason Collins – who joined as head of international tax disputes –  Stuart Walsh, legal director Clara Boyd and senior associate Lauren Redhead, as well as associate Katie Raine from Stephenson Harwood.

Practice head(s):

Richard Woolich

Other key lawyers:

Jason Collins; Lauren Redhead; Katie Raine; Maud Murcia; Jamie Kim; Clara Boyd; Stuart Walsh


‘Richard Woolich is an absolute pleasure to deal with. His knowledge is unparalleled and he can distil even the most complex legal issues into simple terms tailored for your business.’

‘Breadth of knowledge, deep understanding of our business, commercial and pragmatic.’

‘DLA Piper under Richard Woolich is excellent! They are friendly, knowledgeable, they’re a top team.’

Key clients


Falcon Group

Kaplan International Colleges

Mid Ulster District Council


VATit, Wtax, TecEx

Waypoint Investment Management Limited

Takepayments Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented Mid Ulster District Council in an upper tier tribunal case on the reclaim of VAT on leisure facilities.
  • Advising VATit Group, Wtax and TecEx on the VAT and customs aspects of many technical queries, projects and new products.
  • Advised Waypoint Investment Management Limited on various VAT issues on development works and investment transactions, on new acquisitions, and the formation and set up of a new fund.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP advises a range of clients, including those in sectors such as financial services, tech and real estate, on VAT and indirect tax. The team particularly focuses on technical and strategic advice, also working across the the hospitality, pharmaceutical, retail and automotive industries. The team is lead by Giles Salmond, whose work includes tax disputes, contentious VAT work and advising on pension funds. He is supported by corporate head Ben Jones and real estate head Paul Beausang.

Practice head(s):

Giles Salmond

Other key lawyers:

Ed Griffiths; Ben Jones; Paul Beausang


‘The Eversheds VAT & indirect tax team is a class act headed by Giles Salmond with highly competent experts in all indirect taxes. The team has a broad range of industry expertise and the quality of their work inspires confidence in clients – great to work with in all respects.’

‘I have dealt most with Giles Salmond and Ed Griffiths who are exceptionally bright tax lawyers with good negotiating skills and a sound grasp of case strategy. They are a fantastic both technically and tactically.’

‘The VAT and indirect tax practice were engaged as part of a transaction to acquire a portfolio of UK leased property assets. They come across as an integrated group and the hand off between property and tax lawyers seemed to be pretty seamless.’

Key clients

Raymond James Investment Services Limited

Legal & General


Zirconia Trading Limited

London Inflation Plus Fund

Phoenix Life Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Raymond James Investment Services Limited (a supplier of wealth management and other financial advisory services) on the VAT treatment of their supplies.
  • Advised Legal & General on all tax aspects of a £500m joint venture with NatWest Pension Trustee within the senior living space.
  • Advised Zirconia Trading Limited on the structuring and acquisition of M&G Long Income Fund’s Buzz Bingo portfolio of 37 bingo halls for an undisclosed sum.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher advises an impressive client base of multinationals, investment funds, sovereign wealth funds, partnerships and joint ventures on complex tax matters. Work includes tax advice relating to M&A, reorganisations, restructurings, investments and investment vehicles. The practice is led by Sandy Bhogal, whose work covers cross-border transactions in the construction, investment and capital management sectors. Ben Fryer prominently works on matters which involve real estate tax planning for major clients.

Practice head(s):

Sandy Bhogal

Other key lawyers:

Ben Fryer

Key clients

Realty Income

Tishman Speyer

Ark Capital Advisors

Eaton Corporation



Argent Related

Cale Street Partners

Apollo Global Management

IPI Partners

Groupe Sofidy

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP handles a large amount of high-value real estate work, which brings with it an array of VAT and indirect tax matters. The global tax practice is led by William Arrenberg, whose work has a particular focus on real estate taxation, advising on developments, restructurings, disposals and acquisitions. He is supported by Howard Murray, who works on non-contentious insurance, M&A and infrastructure, and Isaac Zailer, who covers contentious M&A, asset management and restructuring. Aurell Taussig is focused on matters relating to investment funds, while Casey Dalton handles real estate taxation, VAT and SDLT issues.

Practice head(s):

William Arrenberg

Other key lawyers:

Howard Murray; Isaac Zailer; Aurell Taussig; Casey Dalton

Key clients

Aberdeen Standard Life

Brookfield Property Partners LP

Brookgate Land Limited

Goldman Sachs International

Hammerson Plc

Hermes Fund Managers Limited

Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited


Transport for London / London Underground Limited

Tryg A/S

Tullow Oil

BHP Group Limited

AbbVie Inc.

Acacia Research Corporation

Ahren LP

Allianz Real Estate GmbH

Amundi (UK) Limited


Ardonagh Group

Argent (Property Development) Services Limited

Artisan Partners Limited Partnership

Associated British Foods plc

Atlassian Corporation Plc

Baillie Gifford

Berkeley Homes


Big Society Capital Limited

BioPharma Credit Plc


Blue Motor Finance Limited


Bridgestone Corporation

British American Tobacco PLC

Cabot Square Capital


Canada Life

Canary Wharf Group Plc

Capital & Counties Properties Plc

Certares Management LLC




Copenhagen Infrastructure New Markets Fund

CPP Investment Board

Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Dorrington Plc



Ferrexpo plc

Findlay Park Partners LLP



General Mills

Iberdrola S.A.


Iluka Resources

Impact Oil & Gas AGC Limited

Israel Chemical Limited (ICL)

Johnson Matthey Plc

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

King’s College London


Lazard Group

LCR Limited

Lend Lease Corporation Limited

LendInvest BTL Limited

Marsfields Limited

Mercuria Energy Group

National Grid Plc


OneWeb Communications

Pearson Plc

Pension Insurance Corporation Plc

Pension Protection Fund

Perenco UK Limited

Phoenix Group Holdings Plc

Polar Capital

Qatar Investment Authority

ReAssure Limited

Resolution Re

Respira International Limited

Royal London

Saga Plc

Sky Plc

Societe Generale

SoftBank Corporation

St. James Edinburgh Unit Trust

The Ardonagh Group Limited

The British Land Company Plc

The McConnell Foundation

Thomas Lloyd Group Limited

TSB Bank plc


Vantage Capital Markets LLP

Weir Group Plc


Willis Towers Watson

Woodside Energy Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised on the acquisition by Brigid Investments Limited (a Macquarie Capital and John Laing 50:50 joint venture) and financing of 240 let retirement units located across 76 sites across the UK.
  • Advising Brookgate on their masterplan developments of the mixed-use development schemes at Cambridge Central Station and Cambridge North Station.
  • Advised British Land on its sale of 50% of its share in the Canada Water Masterplan to AustralianSuper for £290m.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP's team focuses on specialist VAT and stamp duty issues, covering matters relating to cross-border movement of goods and customs and excise. The team is led by Rupert Shiers, who sits on the Chartered Institute of Taxation committee for management of taxes, and handles work in pensions and the leisure industry. He is supported in this work by Philip Harle and Suzanne Hill.

Practice head(s):

Rupert Shiers

Other key lawyers:

Philip Harle; Suzanne Hill

Work highlights

  • Advised Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 defined benefit pension schemes on resolving their position in multi-party VAT litigation, actively managed by the Tribunal.
  • Advised a household name group on steps to resolve a multi-year, multi-jurisdiction, tech-related VAT issue. Included novel legal and strategic advice, and complex financial modelling.
  • Advised Eynsham Cricket Club on Court of Appeal VAT litigation, addressing zero-rating, interaction of VAT and general law, and fundamental points of statutory interpretation.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright covers an array of corporate and finance transactions with VAT considerations, including advising clients on the impact of Brexit and import and export of goods. Dominic Stuttaford leads the team and regularly advises insurers on Insurance Premium Tax in relation to increases in IPT rates. Chris Bates brings more than 30 years of experience in financial transactions related to transport, property and IP, amongst other areas.

Practice head(s):

Dominic Stuttaford

Other key lawyers:

Chris Bates

Key clients

Barclays Bank Plc

Bibby Financial Services


Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners


Civitas Social Housing PLC

Commerz Real Investmentgesellschaft mb

Credit Agricole

France Telecom

Gatehouse Bank

Goldman Sachs


Lloyds Banking Group

London Gateway Port Limited

Mubadala Investment Company PJSC




Vodacom Group

Welput (the West End of London Property Unit Trust)

Al Rayan Bank PLC

DP World

Work highlights

  • Acting for BMW on the ongoing consequences and ramifications of their successful appeal to the Court of Appeal concerning the working of the VAT rules relating to VAT grouping and which entity is entitled to claim a refund of VAT where there have been changes to the composition of a VAT group over time.
  • Acting for Takeda (formerly Shire) in a restitution claim in the Stamp Taxes Group Litigation Order relating to Stamp Duty Reserve Tax.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP's VAT practice represents large corporates and has a track record of work on complex business crime investigations. The tax disputes and investigations team is led by Steven Porter, who handles high-profile disputes with HMRC on indirect taxes, property taxes, employment tax and residency status. Jake Landman was promoted to partner in 2021, and is highly regarded for his knowledge and practical experience of the tax litigation process.

Practice head(s):

Steven Porter

Other key lawyers:

Jake Landman


‘Widely known as the pre-eminent tax litigators.’

‘Market leading VAT litigators’

‘The team focuses on ensuring that they maintain outstanding technical skills. They are very client focused in the sense that they tailor the delivery of their advice to the profile of the client.’

Key clients

Natwest Group

Cantor Fitzgerald

Darty Ltd (Part of Group Darty FNAC)

E-Zec Medical Transport Services Ltd

Natwest Group

Cantor Fitzgerald

Darty Ltd (Part of Group Darty FNAC)

E-Zec Medical Transport Services Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for Natwest Group plc (formerly RBS Group plc) and NatWest Markets in a high value dispute before the Supreme Court concerning a supply chain VAT fraud on purchases of emissions allowances (“carbon credits”) issued under the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.
  • Acting for US investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald in a Court of Appeal dispute with HMRC concerning its entitlement to recover input VAT on its transactions in circumstances where they do not hold valid VAT invoices
  • Instructed by E-zec Medical Transport Services Ltd to act in an appeal to FTT concerning the VAT treatment of patient transport services performed principally on behalf of NHS Trusts.


As a law firm within a much larger accountancy firm, PwC LLP benefits from having a wide pool of experts to draw from. Its team includes a number of lawyers who specialise in environmental taxes, supported by an environmental regulation team, an area of growing prominence. The team is led by David Anderson, who has more than two decades of experience in this area and a track record of work on prominent cases, including the St George's University case regarding the 'complex supply' of students from multiple jurisdictions and how this relates to tax law.

Practice head(s):

David Anderson

Other key lawyers:

Prinal Nathwani


‘PwC has great strength in depth in all areas of direct and indirect tax litigation. They work with teams of highly skilled individuals who complement each other. They are prepared to discuss billing arrangements.’

‘Fantastic team. So efficient, knowledgeable, and a genuine pleasure to work with.’

‘Impressive portfolio of clients.’

‘David Anderson is a highly capable solicitor, who always knows the strategic angle to a case.’

‘Prinal Nathwani is excellent on technical tax analysis and is very good at seeking mediated solutions.’

‘David Anderson and Prinal Nathwani are truly outstanding. It is a joy to work with them.’

Key clients

St George’s University Limited

Target Group Limited

Healthspan Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented St George’s University in its successful first-tier tribunal appeal concerning the scope of the VAT exemption for supplies of education, releasing £20m back into its teaching and research activities.
  • Represented Target Group in a key VAT liability case in the financial services sector, which has implications for the the future UK scope and application of the FS VAT exemption for services concerned with the transfer of money.


RPC has a full-service tax dispute resolution practice which advises on all areas of VAT and indirect tax, including multijurisdictional work. Its work includes litigation, investigations and judicial reviews. The team is led by Adam Craggs, a former employee of HMRC Solicitor’s Office who has 30 years of experience in both indirect and direct tax dispute resolution. Robert Waterson has handled high-profile disputes at all levels of the UK courts as well as the Court of Justice of the European Union. Associate Keziah Mastin joined in January 2022 from HMRC.

Practice head(s):

Adam Craggs

Other key lawyers:

Robert Waterson; Keziah Mastin; Michelle Sloane


‘Great expertise and imaginative and innovative solutions and approaches to tax litigation.’

‘Robert Waterson is the stand-out partner here. Technically brilliant and marvellously understated but relentlessly committed to the client’s cause.’

‘This is a team which is able to look at its indirect tax practice in a broad context: customs, direct tax, white collar crime and governance are all within its compass. As tax compliance becomes increasingly important in the boardroom they so their value to clients increases.’

‘Adam Craggs brings a wealth of experience to the team and is an excellent leader.’

‘Robert Waterson is an exceptional lawyer as is Michelle Sloane. They work together very effectively and are strong and articulate communicators. They choose their points carefully and fight to win.’

Key clients

Metropolitan International School Ltd

TSB plc

Universal Cycles

Work highlights

  • Representing TSB in relation to a VAT dispute regarding a transitional services agreement following the bank’s split with Lloyds.
  • Acting for Metropolitan International Schools Ltd, the largest supplier of distance learning materials in the UK, in an appeal before the first-tier tribunal in respect of a VAT dispute with HMRC concerning the supply of blended distance learning courses for the VAT periods 2015-2017 – value £10m.

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons advises clients including banks, tech companies and other multinational businesses on matters relating to VAT disputes with HMRC. In 2019 the firm acquired a legal engineering business, now known as Simmons Wavelength, to assist with simplifying complex projects and identifying errors in formulae – that business now supports the team in terms of streamlining complex tax matters. The indirect tax practice is led by Jo Crookshank, with work stretching across all areas of indirect tax. Nick Skerrett leads on many cases, including complex cross-border work. Supervising associate Richard Harvey joined from Mishcon de Reya LLP in September 2021.

Practice head(s):

Jo Crookshank

Other key lawyers:

Nick Skerrett; Richard Harvey


London criminal defence firm Bark&co deals with high-value, cross-border work in relation to business crime and VAT tax litigation. The firm’s work covers tribunal appeals, HMRC interventions and seizures, tax investigations and enquiries, while the criminal tax fraud practice advises on a wide range of tax evasion and tax fraud matters. The team is led by founder Giles Bark-Jones, who specialises in VAT fraud cases and challenges to HMRC assessments. He is supported by Peter Finbow, with a focus on fraud and white-collar crime, such as insider trading, bribery and fraudulent trading. Maria Stalbow is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Giles Bark-Jones

Other key lawyers:

Patricia Wilson; Paul Lennon; Peter Finbow; Maria Stalbow


‘Bark&Co has an excellent tax litigation and VAT department which complements its other teams, making them a fantastic all round firm.’

‘The firm has great strength and depth. I would wish to single out Giles Bark-Jones who remains the backbone of the firm and very much in control of the whole show. He is an excellent lawyer and very much the powerhouse that drives the firm forward and ensures that it provides the excellent quality of service that it does.’

‘Patricia Wilson has great experience and has a marvellous manner with clients and goes the extra mile for them, putting in a huge amount of effort.’

‘Bark & Co has huge experience in representing clients facing investigations (and subsequent civil and criminal proceedings) into their tax affairs. They have real strength in depth amongst the team, and my experience is that they provide a first rate service.’

‘Giles Bark-Jones is still one of the real heavyweights. He is actively involved in client management and providing high-level strategic and tactical advice. Clients really know that he is on their side..

‘Peter Finbow is someone who provides a reassuring presence in any case. He has excellent instincts, and is adept at spotting and resolving issues long before they become a problem.’

‘Maria Stalbow gets under the skin of a case and has a knack of getting straight to the heart of the case. Clients like her and she’s always on top of the detail.

‘Pat Wilson is someone who clients love because they can see that she genuinely cares and will never rest until she has chased down every detail and turned over every stone in her clients’ case.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for an individual in investigations by the National Crime Agency and SKAT (the Danish tax authority) into fraud and money-laundering activities worth over £1.5bn committed against the tax authorities in a number of countries, predominantly the UK, Denmark, the US and Belgium.
  • Acting for one of a number of individuals alleged to have been part of an OCG into which HMRC conducted an intensive investigation concerning a long-running conspiracy to cheat the public revenue along with ancillary money laundering offences.
  • Acting for one of a number of individuals charged in relation to an alleged alcohol diversion fraud operated on a massive scale in 2009 and 2010.

Macfarlanes LLP

The VAT experts at Macfarlanes LLP are able to handle the indirect tax aspects of real estate and M&A transactions, as well as advising on the structure of investment funds and joint venture agreements, and outsourcing issues. The team is also well-versed in VAT-related disputes and HMRC investigations. Chris Mortimer heads the group, with particular experience in advising on the establishment of new investment vehicles and negotiating VAT recovery methods with HMRC. Charishma Bhujohory is regularly instructed on day-to-day VAT issues, as well as VAT issues arising from corporate and property transactions.

Practice head(s):

Chris Mortimer

Other key lawyers:

Charishma Bhujohory


‘Very responsive, even on minor matters. Able to put across technical matters in straightforward language and commercial in approach.’

‘Cohesive team who clearly understand the subject matter and can work across the different practice areas.’

‘Chris Mortimer and Charishma Bhujohory will make themselves available and turnaround queries quickly, even where time isn’t of the essence. Chris, although relatively young has a wide breadth of knowledge and having started out in the Big 4 previously is very comfortable with the numbers side of things/VAT return process and preparation, which is a plus.’

‘Primary contact is Chris Mortimer. Personable, accessible, responsive and practical in his advice – it is reassuring to know Chris is on hand whenever you need him.’

‘The individuals I worked with were clearly very bright and as well as being technically strong and knowledgeable.’

Mayer Brown International LLP

Mayer Brown International LLP's 'experienced and engaged' team advises on a wide range of VAT and SDLT issues, including resolving complex tax disputes. London tax head James Hill has a track record of work for clients across the real estate and healthcare sectors, covering a variety of of tax and private equity matters. Simon Rose works largely on real estate matters, supported by associate Emma Noehrbass. Kitty Swanson was promoted to partner at the start of 2022.

Practice head(s):

James Hill

Other key lawyers:

Simon Rose; Emma Noehrbass; Kitty Swanson


‘Experienced and engaged with excellent availability, and always putting us as the client first. Overall they feel like a very safe pair of hands who I trust.’

‘I have worked on cross-border deals with James Hill and Kitty Swanson and they are knowledgeable, responsive, commercially minded –  James in particular is an extremely calm presence during high-stress times. They also fill me with confidence in their ability to tackle any issue and they have good international reach.’

Key clients

British Land

Round Hill Capital

Entertainment One

Beazley plc

L Catterton


Shearwater Group


CDK Global, Inc.

Generali Real Estate

Work highlights

  • Advised Round Hill Capital on a new joint venture with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) that will invest in excess of €1bn in European student accommodation.
  • Advised Cabot Properties, an international private equity real estate firm, on the sale of its logistics portfolio to Blackstone Real Estate in two separate transactions.
  • Represented Pernod Ricard in its acquisition of The Whisky Exchange, a leading online and physical retailer of whisky and spirits.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP works on a range of high-stakes civil and criminal disputes, including cases involving tax issues relating to property, import and export, largely focusing on allegations of tax evasion. The team is led by Neil Swift, who specialises in business crime and investigations. He is supported by Maria Cronin, who has led on some major work related to money laundering.

Practice head(s):

Neil Swift

Other key lawyers:

Maria Cronin

Work highlights

  • Representing a high-profile entrepreneur, based on the Isle of Man, who maintains a wide range of business interests throughout the UK and the Isle of Man, including online gambling, payroll services, and various property investments.
  • Acting for two Chinese citizens and their UK incorporated company, whose business is the export of luxury goods to Hong Kong and Macau, as a result of their having become unwittingly embroiled in a large-scale money laundering investigation, involving a complex web of UK bank accounts held by Chinese individuals.

Wedlake Bell LLP

Wedlake Bell LLP has a team of experts providing specialist advice on tax matters including suspected fraud, as well as tax issues for clients in the construction and higher education sectors. Michael Ridsdale leads the practice and advises standalone clients on specialist VAT matters - he is also an active member of the VAT Committee of the British Property Federation.

Practice head(s):

Michael Ridsdale


‘Very personable, great communication and values’

‘Michael Ridsdale – excellent partner on all levels, trustworthy and very knowledgeable’

‘The team includes one of the VAT and property experts in the country and a person who is very experienced and knowledgeable in SDLT issues. The aforementioned VAT expert regularly liaises with HMRC on this area of VAT law and its application to transactions, helping to formulate HMRC Policy.’

‘The team at Wedlake Bell is dominated by one individual – Mike Ridsdale. Mike’s is one of those names that anyone involved with VAT would recognise instantly. He is a former national chair of the VAT Practitioners Group, and lectures regularly on current issues. He has earned universal respect from colleagues, clients, and competitors. A star individual in his field if ever their was one.’

‘I particularly appreciate the personal service that we receive, which is thoughtful, bespoke to our particular needs and always practical. The firm has access to individuals with deep expertise and with an extremely customer-focused approach. Other firms I have issued also exhibit these characteristics but not consistently in combination.’

‘The individuals I deal with are responsive and friendly. I never feel I am encroaching on their time or that my questions are inappropriate. The individuals I have been especially impressed with are Mike Ridsdale.’

Key clients

Imperial College London


Work highlights

  • Advising Imperial College London in relation to the construction and development of a new campus in the London area.