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, e-commerce, insurance and financial services sectors, amongst others.
Peter has litigated over 90 important VAT cases (reported in Simon’s Tax Cases). He also has many successful appearances in the specialist tax tribunals and experience in the 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 that 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
- American Express Services Europe Ltd v HMRC  UKFTT 548 (TC), FTT VAT – Supply of payment services by Card Issuer – direction of supply – whether to Merchant Acquirers in EU or to Network Operator in USA – on consideration of contracts and economic reality supply was to Network Operator.
- R (oao of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust) v HMRC  STC 1532, UTJudicial Review – NHS Trust claiming refund of VAT under Contracted Out Services Direction – salary sacrifice scheme – Trust leasing cars to lease on to employees for their personal use – whether economic activity under Art 9(1) PVD – yes – Trust entitled to refund as economic activity to be disregarded due to VAT (Treatment of Transactions) Order 1992.
- Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation v HMRC  UKFTT 329 (TC), FTTVAT – exempt cultural supplies (of tickets) and taxable bar and restaurant supplies to audience members – integrated visitor experience – input tax recovery – production costs directly linked to taxable supplies – a proportion of input tax on production costs was recoverable (now on appeal to UT).
- Buckingham Bingo Ltd v HMRC  UKUT 140 (TCC), UTVAT Appeal – whether fresh appealable decision given by HMRC after considerable lapse of time – no – extension of time to appeal refused – criteria for exercise of discretion considered.
- Pearl Chemist Ltd v HMRC  UKFTT 264 (TC) 23, FTTVAT – zero-rating – where medicines dispensed by UK pharmacists on prescriptions issued by EU, but non-UK, registered doctors – requirements of EU law – whether conforming construction of UK law possible.
- Lloyds Banking Group Plc v HMRC  S.T.C. 1134, CAVAT grouping – which company entitled to recover overpaid VAT after real world supplier has left group or group dissolved – won in FTT, UT and CA (Supreme Court considering application for permission to appeal).
- Anglian Water Services Ltd v HMRC  STC 342, UTUnjust enrichment defence to claim for repayment of overpaid VAT – Fleming claim re post privatisation water charges – water authorities subject to ‘net’ regulatory price cap – FTT held HMRC had proved defence – UT upheld decision, finding no error of law.
- VW Financial Services (UK) Ltd v HMRC  UKFTT 663 (TC), FTT Sales of repossessed vehicles originally supplied under HP agreements – amount of VAT chargeable on sales after repossession – whether Margin Scheme applied –whether sales de-supplied by VAT (Cars) Order 1992/3122 – VAT chargeable on full repossession sale price (now on appeal to UT).
- Dixons Carphone Plc v HMRC  UKFTT 557, FTTVAT on retail sales – consideration – interest free loans to fund purchases made to retailer’s customers by third party lender – whether “subsidy” from retailer to lender reduced value of supply by retailer to customer – no reduction in consideration.
- Colchester Institute Corp v HMRC  UKFTT 479 (TC), FTT Education – Further Education Colleges – whether Government grant-funded education provided free to students was economic activity – input tax recovery – Lennartz treatment – not economic activity and no right to deduct further VAT as input tax – Rule 18 Lead case (now on appeal to UT).
- Marcandi Ltd v HMRC  STC 1455, CJEU 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  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  STC 2413, Supreme Court; (after Court of Appeal, High Ct) and  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  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.
Selected major cases
- Marks & Spencer Plc v CCE – the “Three-year Cap” litigation – VAT Tribunal, Chancery Division, Court of Appeal, Court of Justice of European Union, Court of Appeal, House of Lords, Court of Justice of European Union, House of Lords – from 1996 to 2009.
- Card Protection Plan Ltd v CCE  STC 174, HL – one of the seminal cases on single/multiple supply.
- HMRC v Weight Watchers (UK) Ltd  STC 2313, CA – single/multiple supply case.
- EMI Group Ltd  STC 2609, CJEU – lead case on taxation of free gifts and samples.
- Macdonald Resorts Limited  STC 412; CJEU – holiday accommodation – sale of timeshares – identification of chargeable event – time/place of supply.
- Danfoss  STC 1651, CJEU – lead case on VAT repayment claims by recipients of supplies.
- John Wilkins (Motor Engineers) Limited v HMRC  STC 1371, CA;  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).
- HMRC v Noor  STC 998, UT – lead case on whether First-tier Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear taxpayers’ claims based on legitimate expectation.
- HMRC v Total Technology Ltd  STC 681, UT – lead case on proportionality and penalties for late VAT returns & payments.
- Dixons Retail Plc  STC 375, CJEU – lead case deciding that retailers’ sales are subject to VAT where credit cards are fraudulently used to pay for goods.
- MDDP  STC 699, CJEU – scope of education exemption and input tax deduction where national law wrongly treats supplies as taxable.
- HMRC v Southern Cross Employment Agency Ltd  STC 1933, UT– HMRC recovery assessment over-turned because claim for overpaid VAT had been validly compromised (won in FTT and UT for Southern Cross).
- Unicom Insurance Services Limited v HMRC  UKFTT 782 (TC), FTT – VAT –– insurance intermediary services – whether supplied to insurer or to insured – to the insurer – won for Unicom.
- HMRC v Open University  STC 2273, CA – supply of production services by BBC to OU – whether BBC a public body – whether supplies exempt under education exemption.
- University of Huddersfield Higher Education Corporation v HMRC  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).
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).
Civil liberties & human rights
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
Leading junior in Tax: Corporate and VAT: ‘‘Peter can be relied upon to give a fully balanced appraisal of the position, avoiding either hedging all his views or being excessively optimistic. As he is instructed by both HMRC and tax payers, he can see the position from both sides and is a good guide to HMRC’s probable attitudes and thought processes. His opinions are detailed and logical.’’ – Legal 500, 2022
Tax: Indirect Tax: “He is very methodical and measured.” “Peter displays precisely the right mix of tax technicality and commercial acumen required. He always enables clients to understand the intricacies of VAT law..” – Chambers UK, 2021
Leading junior in Tax: Corporate and VAT: ‘‘He is able to explain complex ideas in a straightforward way that clients like. He is also willing to adopt challenging arguments if he believes in the cause.’’ – Legal 500, 2021
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.”
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
VAT Practitioners Group
Revenue Bar Association