Ben has a broad commercial law and taxation law practice. Ben practices acts in a wide range of disputes in both the High Court and the County Courts including commercial and trust disputes, professional negligence disputes, employment law, probate disputes, professional negligence, civil and commercial fraud and cost assessment matters. Ben also has a particular interest in cyber / data protection law and class actions..
Ben also has a large practice in all aspects of UK and international taxation advisory and disputes 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 ta 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 advice related to securities lending, collateral management, securitization and derivatives
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
Sole counsel for the defendant in successfully having a bankruptcy petition in relation to a debt of £1.5 million set aside. The matter involved consideration of many different complex arguments in order to have the statutory demand set aside, including:
- disputing that the debt that was identified in the bankruptcy petition was actually the debt that the defendants initially guaranteed;
- that the defendant had not been properly served with the bankruptcy petition or the statutory demand on which the bankruptcy petition was based.
Oxford Management v Ebert
Sole counsel representing the claimant in a claim for £500,000 against two former directions of the management company who had misappropriated funds. The matters involved complex claims in relation to whether the directors had breached their fiduciary duties and / or committed fraud.
BMA Limited v Y
Representing the claimant, a UK company, in a claim for either specific performance or liquidated damages in relation to a contract for the sale of £3 million of products by a UK life sciences company to a customer in Germany. The German company was refusing to perform because its operations had been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
One Motion Logistics Ltd v HMRC (to be heard by video link June 2020)
Acting for the taxpayer in an appeal against two VAT surcharge penalty notices totaling around £400,000. The penalty notices are disputes on two main bases: (1) That they were incorrectly addressed and not received by the taxpayer; and (2) there taxpayer had wafer thin margins and low profitability. As such, the penalties were a breach of the EU principle of proportionality and should either be eliminated or reduced.
Taxpayer (anonymous) v HMRC (in progress)
Extensive research and drafting of a skeleton argument to argue that a VAT claim of a taxpayer dating back to 2007 was still open and that the taxpayer was entitled to amend that original claim in 2017.
Taxpayer (anonymous) v HMRC
Preparation of an agreed statement of facts related to a complicated VAT dispute and whether; Certain companies of a construction group were entitled to claim bad debt relief immediately for credit sales they had made where they had not retained title to the goods; What the entitlement of companies that had joined the VAT group later (through acquisition) was to claim bad debt relief.
Employee share scheme advice
Employee Share Scheme: extensive research and preparation of a complex advice to a client on whether they could appeal a decision of HMRC that they did not have “reasonable excuse” under paragraph 52 of Schedule 5 of Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (“ITEPA 2003”) for failing to notify HMRC of a grant of employee stock options within 92 days of their grant under paragraph 44 of Schedule 5 of ITEPA 2003. Included considering whether the solicitors advising the client could be sued for professional negligence.
Inheritance Tax – domicile - advice
Advice and tax planning concerning an estate worth £3 million to minimise inheritance tax. Extensive research and written advice to confirm that the deceased was not domiciled or deemed domiciled in England, and therefore only her UK assets would be subject to inheritance tax. Tax saving of over £800,000 achieved.
Inheritance Tax – residential nil rate band advices
Numerous advices in relation to assisting clients obtain the full benefit of the residential nil rate band and shield at least £1 million of their estate from inheritance tax. The residential nil rate band provisions are very complicated. These advices often involve restructuring of assets contained in trusts.
Inheritance Tax – double trust home loan scheme advices
Numerous advices in relation to double trust home loan schemes, including:
- Consideration of whether the scheme was legally effective to achieve the intended outcome.
- Consideration of corrective action that could be taken to make a scheme that hasn’t been properly implemented effective;
- Consideration of how to unwind a trust;
- Advice on the risks of leaving a scheme in place and claiming the benefits of the scheme versus unwinding the scheme.
Probate dispute (in progress)
Acting for a defendant, the daughter of the deceased, in relation to a deceased estate valued at around £600,000. The claim is being defended on the basis that the daughter of the deceased:
- the daughter had a substantial claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975);
- was entitled to a share of the Spanish property under Spain’s forced heirship rules.
Darbey v Darbey
Acting for the defendant executor in an estate worth around £3.5 million with assts across the UK, Australia and the United States, resisting a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975). Further advice in relation to a deceased estate to obtain probate in both the UK and Australia and set up a protective trust for a daughter of the deceased (the sister of the executor) in the United States.
Acting for both employers and employees in relation to unfair dismissal claims, discrimination claims, harassment claims, TUPE transfers, unpaid wages and holiday pay.
Double trust home loan scheme – negligently advice / negligently implemented
Acting for the claimants in an action against the solicitors and accountants who had put their mother’s main residence into a double trust home loan scheme but failed to property implement the scheme. Inheritance tax and associated costs with the scheme totaled over £1 million.
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.