VAT & Property conference 2019

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Edited Image 2016-01-28 12-44-41
London City

This page is about our 2019 VAT & Property Conference. To be among the firts to hear about our 2020 event, please connect with us.

Can any of us really ignore VAT on property and construction?  Everyone has property interests, everyone has to deal with property transactions from time to time.  And it’s complicated.

There is also constant change.  HMRC present us with new challenges, launch new initiatives and come up with new interpretations.  Case law overturns received wisdom, and shows issues in a different light.  This year, the future is harder to predict than ever.

To manage risk and spot opportunities – whether in your own organisation or for your clients – you need to know what’s going on, and to be sure that you’ve not missed an important new development.  This event is your chance to hear a unique range of perspectives on current issues.


Sponsored by:

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Originally run by Tolley®, and now in its sixth year with Orca Law, this conference has been the premier event in its field since 2002.With the usual high-quality mix of speakers, we explore a range of practical issues and hot topics:


  • Deal or no deal, there’s no escaping Brexit.  And whilst property might not cross borders, materials and equipment do.  We look at the impacts on supply chains and logistics, and how to manage them.


  • HMRC continue to push back on the property exemption; new guidance is due out any time soon. So what are they saying? And does the latest case law support them, or undermine them?


  • The demand for land has seldom been higher.  Promotion agreements, and developer collaborations, might be simple enough ideas, but tax is a complication, and VAT a neglected one – including by HMRC.

  • October also sees wholescale changes in VAT accounting for building work.  If HMRC have done their job, the government’s publicity machine has had other priorities: there have been concerns that builders don’t know about the new rules, and calls for them to be delayed. We welcome back the architect of the reverse charge, HMRC’s Nick Chambers, and Galliford Try’s Paul Atkins, to tell us how it’s going, and answer our questions about the practicalities.


  • Why does Scotland produce so much of the important litigation?  There’s a common denominator – Philip Simpson QC, previously starring in Caithness Rugby Football Club.  Philip shares new  insights into his recent and current cases, and what they might mean for the rest of us.


  • Myth or reality, there’s been a general perception that the DIY unit has been changing its policies and practices, not always to the benefit of claimants.  HMRC talk us through what they have and haven’t been doing, answer our questions, and tell us how they’re improving the process.


  • ‘An amount of money saved, collected, or provided for a particular purpose.’  But what else gets called a fund, what lurks beneath the acronyms, and what issues might we miss?

About VAT & Property 2019





















Breakfast and coffee

Chair's Introduction

Colin Smith

Braveheart: skirmishes north of the border

  • Sibcas - modular structures: immovable property?

  • Glasgow School of Art - supplies, economic activity, consideration

  • Moulsdale - anti-avoidance provisions

  • Balhousie - does a sale and leaseback mean a clawback?

   Plus: Mydibel, and the continuing relevance of the ECJ

Philip Simpson QC, Old Square Tax Chambers

Morning break

Keep building through Brexit: cross-border logistics

  • Movements of goods; EU VAT simplifications

  • European VAT ‘quick fixes’ for EU cross-border trade

  • VAT and Customs post-Brexit

  • Practical steps for Customs readiness

Rachel Kennedy, EY

October's other big event? The reverse charge

  • The first seven weeks – progress report and outstanding issues

  • Open forum – a chance to put questions and share experiences  

  • Just about managing – other challenges for business

Paul Atkins, Galliford Try; Nick Chambers. HMRC


The best of the rest: implications of recent case law

  • Leasing or letting - Park Street, Mesquita and HMRC

  • Claiming overpaid VAT from HMRC - PORR and more

  • Zero-rating - Greenisland, Yeshivas Lubavitch, Cosham, Swales

  • What the ECJ told us about barter, and about the option to tax

Martin Scammell

Mainly about the DIY scheme: HMRC

  • The DIY scheme - purpose, legislation, criteria and process

  • Issues with claims, and the improvements we’re making

  • Operational update - option to tax, registration, enquiries

  • Q&A session

David Millar and Lee Heggie, HMRC


Green, green grass or homes?

  • Land pooling - different structures and why VAT isn’t always a driver

  • Who, when and how to register - does one size fit all?

  • Risks and inefficiencies - spotting the supplies, securing the input tax

  • Promotion agreements and the treatment of profit shares

   Plus: Grenfell remedial works - HMRC, zero-rating and the practicalities

Kirsten Prichard Jones, Macfarlanes

Making sense of funds

  • What’s out there? What actually is an ACS, a PAIF, JPUT or REIT?

  • Navigating registration, and HMRC’s expectations

  • Hidden supplies, lurking consideration

  • Management exemptions - implementing Fiscale Eenheid X

Chris Nyland, Gowling WLG

AOB - the last few months

What else just happened, too late for the programme?

Martin Scammell

Q&A, final remarks & prize draw

Complimentary drinks and refreshments

2019 Programme


Colin Smith

Colin works in-house at M&G Prudential advising on VAT matters related to its property funds, having previously worked for a property regeneration company, Ernst & Young, PKF and Customs & Excise. He takes an active role in the industry, lobbying HMRC and HM Treasury for change, and is currently chair of the British Property Federation's VAT Committee.

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Philip Simpson

Philip is a Queen’s Counsel qualified in both England and Scotland, as well as a CTA. His practise combines advisory work and litigation, and he regularly appears in VAT disputes from the First-tier Tribunal up to the Supreme Court. Recent VAT cases (apart from property) have concerned whether the provision of doctors to a prison is staff or medical services; whether bank notes entering circulation for the second time are none the less being ‘issued’; whether slankets are designed as clothing; and whether gluten-free brownies are cakes. He practises out of Old Square Tax Chambers.

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Rachel Kennedy

Rachel is an indirect tax senior manager with EY. She is a Chartered Tax Advisor with 13 years’ experience in indirect tax in the Big 4. Rachel advises a wide range of clients in the real estate sector on the acquisition, disposal, development and construction of property as well as supply chain issues (both domestic and cross border) and the use of simplifications and VAT efficiencies.


Paul Atkins

Paul is Head of Tax for Galliford Try plc, a FTSE250 housebuilding and construction business. He is responsible for all areas of tax at Galliford Try but focuses primarily on VAT issues regarding land acquisition, development, and construction. A member of the CIOT and ATT, Paul is involved in the Home Building Federation and Construction Industry Group Tax Groups.


Nick Chambers

Nick joined HMRC in 1989. He has worked in compliance roles and VAT policy, including HMRC's responses to VAT fraud and serious non-compliance, in particular missing trader and supply chain frauds. He specialises in the development of reverse charge measures and has led on the consultation and legislation for the construction and building services reverse charge.

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Martin Scammell

Martin is an independent VAT consultant specialising in property and construction matters, and the author of the leading reference work in this field. He is technical secretary to the British Property Federation’s VAT committee and works with HMRC on numerous committees and working parties. He was previously a partner at Ernst & Young and Head of
Indirect Tax at Eversheds.


David Millar

David is the National VAT Technical Lead for the Business, Tax and Customs Directorate within HMRC. He advises a number of teams across the country including the Option to Tax Unit, VAT Registration and VAT Clearance teams. David is involved in a number of HMRC committees and attends the EU VAT Forum as the Cross Border Rulings representative for the UK.

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Lee Heggie

Lee is the lead VAT technician advising the DIY Housebuilders Team within HMRC’s Business, Tax and Customs Directorate. Lee is also responsible for BT&C’s operational involvement in the current review of the DIY guidance working alongside HMRC’s VAT Policy teams.


Kirsten Prichard Jones

Kirsten advises primarily on the tax aspects of real estate transactions, including forward funding and developments, financing and restructuring transactions, corporate acquisitions, offshore holding structures and joint ventures. Particular areas of focus include residential developers and operators in the "build to rent", student accommodation and care home sectors. Her clients include large institutions, funds, developers and individuals.


Chris Nyland

Chris is a solicitor and CTA with a general real estate tax practice and a specific cross-sector VAT law focus. He works extensively with Gowling WLG's market-leading investment fund, property development and landlord-and-tenant practice groups, and has developed particular expertise in the interaction of taxes in these fields.

2019 Speakers



1 Delegate


2 Delegates


3 Delegates


4 Delegates

Before 19/10


(£630 incl. VAT)


(£1,170 incl. VAT)


(£1,620 incl. VAT)


(£2,040 incl. VAT)

On or after 19/10


(£690 incl. VAT)


(£1,290 incl. VAT)


(£1,800 incl. VAT)


(£2,280 incl. VAT)

For bookings on larger groups please email

For terms and conditions please click here

Early bird rates (ends 19/10/19)

This year's venue

We are happy to announce that this year's conference will once again be held at etc.venues County Hall.


Etc Venues County Hall

Belvedere Road


Venue website