Frank Mitchell

Frank Mitchell SC

Call: 2010 | 2000 (Ireland) | Senior Counsel 2019 (Ireland)

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    LLB (Trinity College Dublin), AITI

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    Frank has spent almost twenty years representing taxpayers’ interests in tax disputes. Having spent nearly ten years in PricewaterhouseCoopers working in tax consultancy and litigation Frank has a broad experience of all areas of VAT, Customs Duty and direct tax issues. He joined Chambers in 2010 as a result of his specific interest in the European law aspects of indirect taxes.

    He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2010 and the Irish Bar in 2000.

    Frank brings his practical experience and client-focused approach to multifarious indirect tax issues. The majority of his time is now spent advising multi-national clients across all areas including banking, telecoms, entertainment, sport, not-for-profit, transport, financial services and property. He is involved in litigation on both sides of the Irish Sea and is regularly un-led in cases where the sums in dispute are in excess of £10million.

    He has written and lectured extensively on VAT and is a member of both the Confederation Fiscale Europeenne and the European Commission’s VAT Expert Group.

    • VAT

      Frank spreads his time between the UK and Ireland according to clients’ needs. Due to the nature of tax litigation in Ireland a significant part of his practice concerns in-camera hearings in respect of which no written judgments are given.

      A considerable aspect of Frank’s practice involves advisory work where the client’s needs are best served by avoiding or minimising litigation.  That said, litigation is becoming increasingly difficult to avert and the below represent a selection of the matters in which Frank is instructed.


      Frank is currently involved in:

      • London Borough of Ealing – Appeared unled before the Court of Justice in a case which found the UK VAT Act in breach of EU law;
      • Cussens and Brosnan v Inspector of Taxes – Appeared before the Court of Justice in a case concerning the abuse of rights doctrine and its interaction with the principle of legal certainty;
      • Colaingrove v HMRC – Appearing unled in lead case on the taxable status of Non-FOBTs in the wake of Rank;
      • Bookfinders Ltd v Revenue Commissioners – Appearing unled in a statutory appeal pending before the Irish Court of Appeal in respect of the VAT rate applicable to teas and coffees and hot take away food under Irish law;
      • Florence Carey v A Firm – An Irish High Court case regarding the application of the Mutual Assistance Directive. (Frank has appeared in all of the Irish cases in respect of Revenue Powers to obtain documentation from third parties);
      • A claim by a UK bank for repayment of several tens of millions of pounds of overpaid tax;
      • An appeal by a pharmaceutical multinational in relation to the VAT implications of trasfer pricing;
      • An in camera appeal concerning the CGT and CAT treatment of the disposal of shares in a private company;
      • Stanley v Revenue Commissioners – an appeal to the Irish Court of Appeal in respect of the time-limits which apply to the raising of CAT assessments;

      Frank has recently worked on:

      • The Wellcome Trust Ltd v HMRC
      • Brother v HMRC – Appeared unled in this successful classification appeal regarding the customs classification of multi-function machines;
      • Halle Concerts Society v HMRC – Appeared unled in this successful appeal against the refusal of the philanthropic exemption;
      • Vital Nut v HMRC – Appeared unled in this Upper Tier Tribunal appeal regarding the customs classification of osmotically dehydrated fruit;
      • South African Tourist Board v HMRC – an appeal to the Upper Tribunal on the question of whether the Appellant is engaged in economic activity;
      • S&I Electronics v HMRC – an appeal to the Upper Tribunal in respect of Kittel-type assessments raised on a dealer of mobile phones;
      • Viera v Revenue Commissioners – A Supreme Court appeal concerning the power to raise VAT assessments;
      • Revenue v A Firm – An appeal pending before the Irish Supreme Court in respect of the Revenue’s powers to obtain client information from a firm of solicitors;
      • A multi-million pound appeal in respect of the right to deduction in a financial service transactions.
      • Appeared unled in a successful  multi-million poundeuro appeal in relation to the scope of the Irish education exemption;
      • Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council v HMRC – Appeared unled in this successful appeal as to whether the Appellant’s services in respect of memorials for deceased were an exempt letting of immovable goods;
      • HMRC v Paul Newey (T/A Ocean Finance) – agreeing the terms of the reference by the FTT to the Court of Justice
      • South African Tourist Board v HMRC  – Successful Upper Tribunal appeal concerning whether the Appellant’s supplies amounted to economic activity;
      • Last Passive v Revenue Commissioners – Appeared unled before the Court of Appeal in respect of this input tax appeal;
      • Revenue v A Firm – First Irish High Court Judgment considering the implications of the Revenue Commissioners’ powers under section 902A TCA 1997;
      • An in camera hearing concerning a £20m assessment raised on a taxpayer in respect of an alleged tax avoidance scheme;
      • An in camera hearing concerning the extent to which charities make taxable supplies;
      • LMcL v JD [2009] 4 IR 123 – An Irish High Court case in which the applicant challenged the Court’s jurisdiction to order the disclosure of certain bank accounts;
    • What the directories say

      Tax: corporate and VAT: ‘‘He considers all angles on a matter which encourages an open and healthy debate.’’ – Legal 500, 2021

    • Publications

      Frank has authored and edited many books and dozens of articles on VAT. He has published articles in Taxation Magazine, Tax Journal, De Voil Indirect Taxes and The Irish Tax Review. He is editor of “VAT & VAT on Property” the leading Irish text on VAT published by the Irish Tax. Frank is also a regular speaker at tax conferences in the UK and Ireland.

    • Additional information

      Frank read law in Trinity College Dublin (94-98) before completing his Barrister-at-Law Degree in the Honourable Society of the Kings Inns, Dublin in 2000. He was admitted as an associate of the Irish Tax Institute in 2001. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2010.

      Professional Memberships

      Frank is a Member of the European Commission’s VAT Expert Group. A Council Member of  the Irish Tax Institute and a member of the Confederation Fiscale Europeenne.

    • Publications