Peter Mantle

Call 1989
MA (Oxon) LLM (Cantab)

+44 (0)20 7405 7211

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“He absorbs information like a sponge and is able to deliver the most intellectually demanding ideas with the utmost clarity in court.” “He dispenses both technical expertise and practical industry knowledge in a thorough and logical manner.” Chambers UK, 2019

Peter has a breadth and depth of experience and expertise in the field of VAT unsurpassed at the junior bar.

He is regularly instructed by accountants and solicitors to advise clients in many sectors, and is entrusted by HMRC with advice and litigation in complex high value cases. Peter has helped private clients  successfully address a wide range of VAT issues, from Assessments to Zero-rating and “Earns praise for his effective client manner in VAT cases” and “expertise in EU law” (Chambers UK). Peter has recently acted for clients in the charities, education, insurance and financial services sectors, amongst others.

Peter has litigated over 80 important VAT cases (reported in Simon’s Tax Cases). He also has many successful appearances in the specialist tax tribunals and experience in Upper Tribunal, Court of Appeal and the European Court of Justice. He has earned “a strong reputation” through his frequent involvement in significant VAT cases (Chambers UK).

In 2017 Peter was part of the HMRC counsel team which won the Littlewoods multi-billion pound compound interest litigation in the Supreme Court, the only counsel to represent HMRC in every court throughout the litigation. He acted in the first VAT Group litigation in both the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Peter brings skills originally acquired across a broad range of civil litigation and honed in the tax field, including valuable insights gained from representing both private clients and HMRC.

His tax practice includes tax judicial reviews, human rights based claims, excise duty and other indirect taxes and direct tax.

  • Recent and selected major Cases
    • Marcandi Ltd v HMRC, Court of Justice of European Union (Judgment of 5 July 2018) – VAT liability of a “penny auction” website – payments made by users to obtain Credits giving right to bid in auctions were consideration for a supply of services to customers, which was taxable in the UK – the payments were not pre-payments for goods subsequently purchased on winning auctions or by using special features available to those placing bids — the issue of Credits was not outside the scope of VAT as it was not a mere preliminary transaction
    • ING Intermediate Holdings Ltd v HMRC [2018] STC 339, Court of Appeal (after UT and FTT) – VAT – lead case on retail deposit taking by banks – retail deposit taking by ING bank with no fees was a supply for consideration – use of inputs in making such exempt supplies prevented direct link to specified supplies – won at all levels
    • Littlewoods Retail Ltd v HMRC  [2017] STC 2413, Supreme Court; (after Court of Appeal, High Ct) and [2012] STC 1714, Court of Justice of European Union (CJEU) – VAT – lead case deciding  that HMRC was not liable to pay compound interest on overpaid VAT won in CJEU and SC
    • Inventive Tax Strategies Limited (In Administration) v HMRC [2017] UKFTT 667 (TC), FTT – claim by administrators under Reg 38 and Art 90 PVD – whether contractual liability to make full refund to customers after tax planning scheme failed amounted to price reduction entitling administrators to repayment from HMRC
    • HMRC v MG Rover Group Ltd and others [2017] STC 41, UT and Gala 1 Ltd v HMRC [2017] STC 437, UT VAT grouping – which company entitled to recover overpaid VAT after real world supplier has left group or group dissolved – won in FTT and UT – to be heard by CA in 2019
    • U-Drive Ltd v HMRC [2017] STC 806, UT – whether supply of repairs of damage to third party vehicles paid for by car-hire company was a supply to that company or to car owner – supply to car owner – input tax not recoverable – won in UT (PM did not appear below)
    • HMRC v K E Entertainments Ltd [2017] STC 1895 UT, bingo – recalculation of attribution of customer payments between stake and participation fee after change in HMRC’s guidance – whether reduction in consideration within Art 90 PVD
    • University of Huddersfield Higher Education Corporation v HMRC [2016] STC 1741, CA – VAT — abuse of rights – input tax recovery scheme adopted by university held to be abuse of rights – won in UT and CA (PM did not appear below)
    • HMRC v Open University [2016] STC 2273, CA – supply of production services by BBC to OU – whether BBC a public body – whether supplies exempt under education exemption
    • Unicom Insurance Services Limited v HMRC [2016] UKFTT 782 (TC), FTT – VAT –– insurance intermediary services – whether supplied to insurer or to insured – to the insurer – won for Unicom
    • HMRC v Southern Cross Employment Agency Ltd [2015] STC 1933– HMRC recovery assessment over-turned because claim for overpaid VAT had been validly compromised (won in FTT and UT for Southern Cross)
    • MDDP [2014] STC 699, CJEU – scope of education exemption and input tax deduction where national law wrongly treats supplies as taxable
    • Dixons Retail Plc [2014] STC 375, CJEU – lead case deciding that retailers’ sales are subject to VAT where credit cards are fraudulently used to pay for goods
    • MCO Capital Ltd v OFT CCA/2012/0015 – revocation of consumer credit licence – OFT’s first anti-money laundering penalty against payday lender upheld
    • HMRC v Total Technology Ltd [2013] STC 681, Upper Tribunal (UT) – lead case on proportionality and penalties for late VAT returns & payments
    • HMRC v Noor [2013] STC 998, UT – lead case on whether First-tier Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear taxpayers’ claims based on legitimate expectation
    • John Wilkins (Motor Engineers) Limited v HMRC [2011] STC 1371, Court of Appeal; [2010] STC 2418, UT – leading case on statute-based claims for compound interest under VATA 94 – the inaugural case in the Upper Tribunal (Tax & Chancery Chamber)
    • Danfoss [2013] STC 1651, CJEU – lead case on VAT repayment claims by recipients of supplies
    • Macdonald Resorts Limited [2011] STC 412; CJEU – holiday accommodation – sale of timeshares – identification of chargeable event – time/place of supply
    • EMI Group Ltd [2010] STC 2609, CJEU – lead case on taxation of free gifts and samples
  • VAT & Customs Law

    Peter is frequently instructed in tax litigation. He also advises clients on solutions to a variety of indirect tax issues and in connection with disputes with HMRC.

    Peter initially made his name by representing HMRC and still regularly appears for them as a government A panelist. He was counsel to HMRC in the first VAT Group Litigation.

    Peter now regularly receives instructions on behalf of taxpayers, both to advise and in relation to disputes, including from top 10 accountancy firms. He is often instructed to appear against the leading VAT silks achieving a number of notable victories. He recently won for Southern Cross Employment Agency, successfully challenging a recovery assessment made by HMRC, on the grounds that the original claim had been validly compromised.

    Peter has worked for his clients, amongst other areas, on assessments, exemptions, input tax deduction and partial exemption, single/multiple supplies, claims for overpaid tax (including time-limits, unjust enrichment and interest), penalties, place of supply, registration, security requirements, unfair treatment of taxpayers, zero-rating, and avoidance.

    He has advised and handled disputes in cases across sectors such as construction, education, energy, health, financial services, food, land and property, health care, labour providers, publishing, retailing, transport, travel agents and holidays, telecommunications and internet services, and welfare services.

    He is often instructed in matters involving new or difficult points of law, arising out of the EU VAT Directives or construction of UK legislation. He also has acumen advising on more everyday situations and problems.

    He regularly represents clients in VAT cases in the specialist tax tribunal, where he brings to bear great his specialist experience and expertise, and skills cross-examining witnesses initially developed outside the tax area across a wide range of civil litigation. He is experienced in litigation involving questions of fact requiring the ability to handle extensive evidence (documents and witnesses).

    Peter is a regular advocate in cases which require further appeals to the Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal, often in high value, legally complex cases.

    In addition Peter often represents clients in judicial reviews involving HMRC, including equal treatment cases and human rights cases. Civil actions against HMRC in the High Court, and some criminal defence work involving VAT, have also featured in Peter’s practice.

    He represents clients in the European Court of Justice. Peter benefits from insights based on his and Monckton’s wider appreciation of EU law and its general principles and he frequently handles complex EU points.

    Peter has experience in excise cases (including a 10 day excise hearing before the First-tier Tribunal, representing a duty guarantor, in 2010). He has advised on Insurance Premium Tax and appeared in IPT appeals. He has also dealt with stamp duty/SDRT.

  • Commercial / Consumer Credit

    Peter has experience advising on consumer credit and related legislation and representing clients in civil actions and in some criminal proceedings under the 1974 Act.

    He has acted for major lenders, including HSBC and Nationwide, as well as a variety of smaller lenders and traders involved in consumer credit transactions. He has given advice in relation to terms of regulated agreements, including hire purchase, conditional sale and running account credit agreements, licensing (including representations to the OFT), advertising and quotations.

    In 2013 he represented the OFT in a major consumer credit licence revocation and money laundering penalty case involving payday lending (MCO Capital Ltd v OFT CCA/2012/0015).

  • Human Rights Law

    Peter has appeared and advised in a number of human rights cases, particularly, but not exclusively, in the indirect tax field.

    His experience includes issues in relation to “retrospective” time limits, alleged infringements of the right to property, requirements to pay tax demands before tribunal proceedings can be commenced, and matters relating to the right to a fair hearing, including standovers pending criminal proceedings and the initial challenges to the independence of VAT & Duties tribunal under Article 6.

    A number of cases outside the tax area include matters involving the protection of family businesses from local authority action.

  • What the Directories Say

    Tax: Indirect Tax: “Excellent and extremely well prepared.” “He is clear in his advice and strong technically.” – Chambers UK, 2020

    Leading junior in Tax: Corporate and VAT: ‘‘He is willing to bring new ideas and solutions to the table.’’Legal 500, 2020

    Tax: Indirect Tax: “He absorbs information like a sponge and is able to deliver the most intellectually demanding ideas with the utmost clarity in court.” “He dispenses both technical expertise and practical industry knowledge in a thorough and logical manner.” – Chambers UK, 2019

    Leading junior in Tax: Corporate and VAT: ‘‘Helpful and technically very sound.’’Legal 500, 2018

    Tax: Indirect Tax: “He provides balanced, thorough and insightful advice that focuses on how to win the argument.” “His preparation is excellent and he is very clear in conference.” – Chambers UK, 2018

    Leading junior in Tax: Corporate and VAT: ‘‘Strategically excellent; he’s able to quickly identify the chinks in an opponent’s arguments.’’Legal 500, 2017

    Tax: Indirect Tax: “For representing HMRC he’s the best of the best of juniors.” “Incredibly hard working and very reliable.”Chambers UK, 2017

    Leading junior in Tax: VAT: “He represents HMRC and taxpayers in novel VAT cases.”Legal 500, 2016

    Under Tax: Indirect Tax: Highly rated by market sources, who praise his impressive “attention to detail.” “He is incisive but very approachable and supportive.” “His knowledge of VAT is very good and he’s good at understanding or thinking about how issues fit together.” – Chambers UK, 2016

    ”A good strategic thinker in large-scale litigation.” Leading junior in Tax VAT Law. Legal 500, 2015

    Tax: Indirect Tax: “Very thorough and well prepared.”Chambers UK, 2015

    Under Tax: Indirect Tax:Earns praise for his effective client manner in VAT cases. He has expertise in EU law and has acted for HMRC in major VAT group litigation orders. He also advises private clients. “Extremely efficient, polite and clear in his advice.”Chambers UK 2014

    Peter Mantle is listed as a leading Junior in Tax: Corporate and VAT Law. Legal 500, 2013

    “Peter Mantle frequently appears in VAT Specialist Tribunals and cases. He recently appeared in the well-publicised Littlewoods retail ECJ case, which centred around the question of whether or not taxpayers can recover compound interest on overpaid VAT.” Chambers UK, 2013

    Peter Mantle is a recommended leading junior in Tax: Corporate and VAT Law. Legal 500, 2012

    VAT and indirect taxation specialist Peter Mantle has been involved in various significant matters, none more so than a series of compound interest cases arising from the first ever VAT group litigation to make it to trial. This high-value dispute has involved the Court of Appeal, the ECJ and the Upper Tax Tribunal. – Chambers UK, 2012

    Recommended in Tax: Indirect Tax by Chambers UK, 2011“Peter Mantle represents both private clients and HMRC and has a strong reputation. He has appeared in over 50 reported VAT cases, and was recently involved in FJ Chalke Ltd v HMRC, a compound interest group litigation, which was the first of its nature to go to trial.”

    Under Tax: corporate and VAT the Legal 500, 2010 states that “of the juniors, the very user friendly and clever Peter Mantle is well regarded.”

    Chambers UK, 2010 states that “Peter Mantle has earned a “phenomenal reputation” for his HMRC work. He has appeared in numerous big cases, with peers commenting that he is “in and out of the VAT tribunal all the time.” He has an impressive 40 reported VAT cases.”

  • Additional Information

    MA (Oxon) LLM (Cantab)

    Member of the A Panel of the Attorney General’s panel of counsel, first appointed 2005


    Regular Contributor of articles to the Tax Journal and contributor to De Voil’s Indirect Tax Intelligence

    Professional Memberships

    VAT Practitioners Group

    Revenue Bar Association

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