Ben has a broad commercial law and taxation law practice. Ben practices acts in a wide range of disputes including commercial disputes, professional negligence disputes, probate and trust disputes, property law, TOLATA disputes, professional negligence disputes, civil and commercial fraud matters and cost assessment matters. Ben also has a particular interest in data protection law and class actions.
Ben also has an extensive practice in all aspects of UK and international taxation advisory and litigation matters. Prior to joining the Bar, Ben worked as senior legal counsel for a number of large investment banks in London and regularly advised on complex structured finance transactions in excess of £500 million. Ben is also currently the secretary of the UK branch of the International Fiscal Association. Ben advises on all aspects of tax advice and tax litigation matters including:
- cross border taxation issues, especially concerning the UK and Australia, for both companies and individuals;
- transfer pricing;
- the taxation of UK trusts and offshore trusts ;
- tax litigation related to corporate tax, VAT, stamp duty land tax, inheritance tax and income tax.
probate advice in relation to my late sister's deceased estate. Ben has achieved outstanding outcomes for the estate providing me with advice that has resulted in tax savings of over £800,000. Ben's service is both very friendly and extremely efficient"
Appointments & Memberships
Dual qualified: admitted to practice in the UK / Australia
Commercial Bar Association
Revenue Bar Association
Bar Council Member
Secretary of the International Fiscal Association
O v R – LCIA arbitration - £5 million dispute
8-day LCIA arbitration led by James Collins QC. Acting for a wealthy entrepreneur as second junior counsel. The arbitration concerned a dispute over whether our client should be obliged to pay his ex-romantic partner £5 million for breach of a cohabitation agreement that they had both signed. The case was very novel. Primarily, this was a matter concerning the application of commercial contractual interpretation principles to the cohabitation agreement. However, the case also spanned many other areas of law. Among other things, there was extensive argument in relation to an application to exclude surveillance evidence that involved both privacy law and illegality more generally. There was also extensive argument of whether our client’s ex-partner should be permitted access to frozen funds in Switzerland to fund her legal defence.
O v R – LCIA arbitration - £5 million dispute
5-day Mock Arbitration led by Richard Wilson QC - £5 million cohabitation agreement dispute. Acting as junior counsel in relation to witness preparation of our client for the final arbitration hearing. The matter involved preparing an extensive cross-examination to prepare our client for the final arbitration. It also involved making observations throughout the mock arbitration to provide high level feedback to our client.
Commercial law – opinion – contractual interpretation $500 million syndicated loan
20-page written opinion for London branch of a major international bank on the interpretation of the tax gross-up clause in a syndicated loan agreement. The opinion related to a novel point of contractual interpretation in relation to the tax-gross up clause of a syndicated loan agreement. My client was the London branch of a major international bank and had lent their client in Saudi Arabia around $500 million as part of a lending syndicate.
Tax advice on a restructure for an AIM-listed company valued at around £25 million
Provision of UK, Australian and US tax advice to an AIM-listed company that was conducting a restructure. The tax advice included:
- how to tax-effectively transfer UK, Australian and US subsidiary companies under the main UK holding company without realising a capital gains tax charge in either the UK, Australia or the US; and
- whether tax losses of around £1 million in the main UK subsidiary and tax losses of around $1 million in the US subsidiary could be utilised on the basis that there had either been no “ownership change” or they maintained substantially the same business. This matter involved complex interpretation of UK, Australian and US legislation and case law.
Domicile – deceased estate valued at £3 million - inheritance tax advice
Preparation of an advice to an executor of an estate valued at around £3 million that the deceased person was non-UK domiciled for inheritance tax purposes, despite filing tax returns indicating that they were domiciled in the UK. This meant that assets of the estate worth over £1.5 million outside the UK were not subject to inheritance tax at a rate of 40%.
VAT surcharge penalty appeal
Acting for the appellant challenging a £130,000 VAT surcharge penalty. The penalty was challenged on the basis that:
- the appellant taxpayer had “reasonable excuse” for filings its VAT returns between 2-4 days late; and
- the penalty was disproportionate to the gravity of the offence under EU law.
Inheritance Tax – residential nil rate band advice
Tax advice in relation to assisting an executor obtain the full benefit of the residential nil rate band and shield around £1 million of their estate from inheritance tax
Acting for a defendant, the daughter of the deceased, in relation to a deceased estate valued at around £700,000. The claim was defended on the basis that my client:
- had a substantial claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975); and
- was entitled to a share of the Spanish property under Spain’s forced heirship rules.
Property Law / TOLATA
Advising and acting in numerous landlord / tenant disputes, including advising on whether a notice of termination of lease is effective and acting for both landlords and tenants in relation to claim for possession proceedings.
Advice and trial work in relation to all aspects of property disputes including nuisance claims, boundary disputes and adverse possession claims, disputes in relation to covenants and easements and claims in relation to trusts and equitable interests in land.
Acting for both employers and employees in relation to unfair dismissal claims, discrimination claims, harassment claims, TUPE transfers, unpaid wages and holiday pay.
Acting for a technology company in having their costs assessed in the High Court for a licensing dispute that had previously been settled out of court. The matter involved preparation of detailed Schedules in relation to the work that had been performed along with written submissions justifying the amount of the costs that had been claimed in relation to solicitors fees, experts fees and out of pocket expenses.
Acting in numerous costs assessment matters in the county courts.
- Blockchain and Cryptocurrency, Taxation Insight, Bllomsbury Professional
- A View from the Bar – Cryptocurrency, Taxation and benefits a legal chat – Ben Symons
- Cyber Security and Data Protection Training Modules – Lexis Nexis – with Dean Armstrong QC.
Cryptocurrency and Taxation – delivered to MBL seminars, KPMG and the Australian New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants UK Branch
Transfer pricing and Tax Avoidance – delivered to HMRC and MBL seminars
IR-35 and Taxation – delivered to the Australian New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants UK Branch
Domicile and Inheritance Tax – delivered to MBL seminars