Wealthy expat entrepreneur escapes 5 million capital gains tax bill

Published:  2 Dec at 6 PM
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A wealthy property entrepreneur and his culinary-talented wife have won a landmark case brought by HMRC over £5 million capital gains tax bill.

James and Sarah Glyn sold up their £29 million of assets and moved to Monaco, believing that, as they no longer had a home in the UK, they were not subject to capital gains tax on the property sales. The revenue department, unsurprisingly, disagreed, and sent Glyn a bill for £5 million.

The basis for HMRC’s decision was that Mrs Glyn, an accomplished cook, often returned to the UK to host delicious dinners at the homes of family members and friends. According to tax officials, this meant the couple were not considered non-resident in the UK and would have to pay up.

The ensuing battle was referred to a tribunal, with the taxman stating that Mr Glynn had clearly not broken his ties with the UK and even had his cars still registered for resident parking permits in St John’s Wood. Glyn countered with that he had purchased his Monaco apartment well before he retired to Monaco, and had left his family to dispose of his assets and send on his £29 million dividend.

In a rare victory for common sense and the rule of law, the tribunal ruled against the taxman, making it clear that Mr Glynn had never exceeded the 90 day annual limit for time spend in the UK which would have disallowed his non- resident status. The judge confirmed that the distinct break legally required for non-residency had been made, and that the purchase of the Monaco apartment before the overseas move was made had confirmed the non-residency.

Saying that the couple had clearly preferred Monaco’s weather and lifestyle to that in St John’s Wood, the judge dismissed the tax assessment, adding that they were not simply camping abroad to avoid capital gains tax.
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