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Graham Aaronson QC

Work 020 7851 8888
Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP

Work Department

Partner; Tax Disputes


Graham Aaronson QC is a founding partner of Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP and chairs the firm’s tax disputes team.

During his time as a member of Pump Court Tax Chambers he established a reputation as one of the leading tax advisers and advocates of his generation. He has advised or represented most of the major corporations conducting business in the UK, appearing in many landmark cases such as BMBF v Mawson. He initiated the EU law challenges to the UK corporation tax regime in the ground-breaking Hoechst case, and since then he has been the lead counsel in most of the EU law based group litigation actions dealing with corporation tax.

Since founding JHA, he has focused on helping clients resolve their tax disputes with HMRC or other tax authorities. Where necessary this will include careful preparation and conduct of litigation, but wherever possible his preference is to seek to persuade the tax authorities to accept the client’s position, or to agree a negotiated settlement that achieves the best possible outcome for the client.

He specialises in commercial/corporate taxation, with particular sub-specialities in transfer pricing, oil and gas taxation, structured finance, State Aid and EU Law. He also has particular experience and expertise in dealing with football-related tax disputes, representing several very high profile players and agents.


2016: Asked by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to examine the allegations of tax avoidance made against him and his family, arising out of the “Panama Papers” revelations. The Prime Minister quoted from his analysis in his personal statement to the House of Commons on 11th April 2016.

2012-13: Appointed by HMRC as chairman of the Interim Advisory Panel for the GAAR, responsible for and co-writing the legally binding Guidelines for the operation of the GAAR.

2010-11: Appointed by the Coalition Government as Leader of the ‘GAAR’ (General Anti-Avoidance Rule) study. His report, recommending and drafting a proposed General Anti-Abuse Rule, was accepted by the Government, and a GAAR based on his report and draft legislation was enacted in FA 2013.

2001-05: Part-time Special Commissioner (equivalent today to a judge of the First Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal).

1995-98: Chairman of the Revenue Bar Association.

1994-97: Appointed first chairman of the Tax Law Review Committee (set up by the IFS, and under the presidency of the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Howe). Initiated its study of the UK’s tax legislation, and co-wrote its report recommending a complete re-write of the direct tax statutes (which was accepted by the Government and enacted over the following years).

1987-90: Appointed principal tax policy advisor to the Director of State Revenues, Treasury, Israel.


Appointed Queen’s Counsel, 1982

Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation


Cambridge University - MA (Trinity Hall, Law Scholar)

London: Dispute resolution

Tax litigation and investigations

Within: Leading individuals

Graham Aaronson QC - Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP

Within: Tax litigation and investigations

Tax litigation boutique Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP is noted for its dominant position in the UK tax disputes market, enabled by its concentration of 'star individuals'. The group, which combines expertise from the Bar alongside solicitors and other experts including forensic accountants, handles complex domestic and cross-border tax disputes across a range of industry sectors for clients including Marks & Spencer,  Exxon and Sony. Founding partner Graham Aaronson QC leads the tax litigation tea, and specialises in commercial taxation - with a particular focuses on transfer pricing, oil and gas tax, life assurance office tax, structured finance, EU law and state aid. Vastly experienced Simon Whitehead is often instructed on contentious corporation tax matters, while Paul Farmer stands out for work involving European law and international tax. The group is currently representing British American Tobacco in the test case in the FII Group Litigation, which comprises 25 long-running claims by UK-headquartered multinationals challenging the UK's dividend taxation scheme and related issues. It is also acting for Prudential as the test claimant in the CFC and Dividend Group litigation, challenging the lawfulness of the UK's taxation of portfolio dividends and pension fund income. Other key names include Daniel Margolin QC, Michael Anderson, Ray McCann and 'solution-oriented' senior associate Helen McGhee who is singled out for her expertise in technical trust and offshore company matters. Former associate Philippe Freund joined Fieldfisher at partner-level in July 2018.

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