Max Schofield

Year of Call: 2016
Email Address: max.schofield@3pb.co.uk
Telephone: 020 7583 8055

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Overview

Max Schofield is a commercial chancery barrister with particular expertise in Indirect Tax disputes and VAT liability and rates.

Max has been instructed to advise and appear on a broad range of indirect tax cases and has a busy practice far beyond his call. His cases have involved a taxpayer’s legitimate expectation from an HMRC decision, VAT penalties, direct and immediate link for VAT recovery, the VAT treatment of various food and drinks products, and cases of unjust enrichment.

Often resolving disputes before they reach the Tribunal, Max has helped companies succeed in their dealings with HMRC, including being instructed by TV channel S4C in relation to their VAT treatment and s.33 status and by numerous food and drinks companies with disputes under Group 1 of Schedule 8 of the VAT Act 1994.

As a co-editor of the Wolters Kluwer publication “A Handbook of EU VAT Legislation”, Max keeps his finger on the pulse with regards changes to VAT law. He has also been invited to give guest lectures at a number of UK universities and provides expert commentary on changes and trends in VAT law.

In addition to general commercial disputes and insolvency work, Max has utilised his tax expertise to advise on professional negligence cases concerning accountants and tax advisors.

Prior to coming to the Bar, Max was a tax editor for Bloomberg BNA and a paralegal in Macfarlanes LLP’s litigation department and Clyde & Co LLP’s professional negligence department. He accepts instructions for matters in the High Court, County Court, First Tier Tribunal (Tax) and Upper Tribunal (TCC).

For further information, please see the 'Expertise' drop-down below.

Notable cases

The Core (Swindon) Ltd -v- HMRC [2018] UKFTT 0741 (TC)
Acting for the Appellant - whether or not fruit and vegetable juices sold as meal replacements were beverages and therefore standard rated VAT – held not beverages and therefore zero-rated VAT as food – appeal allowed.

Publications

Max has been invited to be co-editor of the Wolters Kluwer publication “A handbook on EU VAT legislation”.

Schofield, M., VAT: Vegan truffle balls are confectionery, 10 March 2020, AccountingWEB.

Schofield, M., VAT on, VAT off: the Premier Family Martial Arts decision, 3 February 2020, Tax Journal.

Schofield, M., The Assessing Science Authority and proportionality in judicial review, 2019, LexisPSL, LexisNexis.

Schofield, M., Praesto Consulting: VAT on legal services, Tax Journal, 26 April 2019, 24-25.

Cape, J., Schofield, M., VAT and Brexit, (2018), EC Tax Review, 2019/06, 290.

Schofield, M., GCC VAT: Rates Roadmap, in: VAT in the Gulf Region, (2017), MENA Business Law Review, 03/2017, 39-48.

De la Feria, R., Schofield, M., Towards an [Unlawful] Modernized EU VAT Rate Policy, (2017), EC Tax Review 2017/2, 89-96.

Schofield, M., De la Feria, R., Section 123: VAT: representatives and security; Section 124: VAT: joint and several liability of operators of online marketplaces, (2016), 5 British Tax Review, 203-210.

Schofield, M., De la Feria, R., Section 126: VAT: women’s sanitary products, (2016), 5 British Tax Review, 210-217.

Schofield, M., S&I Electronics Plc v HMRC and the state of MTIC VAT Fraud, (2015), 5 British Tax Review, 663-678.

Schofield, M., VAT Reduced Rates? Save Your Energy, (2015), International Tax Blog, Bloomberg BNA.

Schofield, M., Malaysia’s New GST: A Brief Comparison with its Former Sales Tax and Service Tax Regime, (2015), International Tax Blog, Bloomberg BNA.

Schofield, M., Snowballs and Windfalls: VAT reduced rates lead to unpredictable and unreasoned jurisprudence, (2014), Durham European Law Institute Blog.

Expertise

  • Commercial
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    VAT

    Max is a specialist in Indirect Tax with a practice far beyond his call. He has a number of cases at various stages of disputes against HMRC. Unlike many at the pure tax bar, Max appears in court every week and prides himself on his courtroom advocacy. He has also successfully resolved disputes with HMRC before they progress to the Tribunals, including settling multi-million pound assessments in the taxpayer’s favour.

    Max has clients in multiple sectors from the food and drinks industry to construction and the media. For example, recently Max was instructed by TV channel S4C in relation to their VAT treatment and s.33 status and by a nationwide producer of healthy food bars. Max has advised many food and drink companies on their VAT liability under Group 1, Schedule 8 of the VAT Act 1994 from start-ups to large international companies.

    Max continues to author and present papers at conferences globally and has written on topics as diverse as VAT and Brexit, the European Commission’s legislative competence on VAT rates, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s implementation of a VAT, an analysis of English case law on MTIC carousel fraud, and the taxation of food and cakes.

    In addition to pure VAT cases, Max advises on professional negligence claims for and against tax advisors and accountants.

    Insolvency

    Max regularly volunteers at the Insolvency and Companies Court as counsel for City Law School’s COIN scheme assisting litigants-in-person at the Winding Up Court. In the course of his practice, Max has successful obtained an extension of a company’s administration to allow for recovery of VAT, restored companies to the register, and regularly appears on matters concerning bankruptcy, insolvency, and debt recovery in the Insolvency and Companies Court.

    Publications

    • 3rd Feb 2020

      Max Schofield analyses Premier Family Martial Arts LLP (“PFMA”) v HMRC in which the First Tier Tribunal was tasked with assessing kickboxing classes and the education exemption for private tuition.

      View Publication
    • 3rd Jun 2019

      Max Schofield analyses the recent Court of Appeal decision in National Car Parks Ltd v HMRC [2019] concerning parking ticket overpayments and consideration for VAT purposes.

      View Publication
    • 9th May 2019

      3PB commercial barrister Max Schofield analyses the implications of the Court of Appeal’s judgment on Praesto Consulting v HMRC, in particular, when a company can reclaim the VAT for legal proceedings against its director.

      This article was first published in the Tax Journal - www.taxjournal.com/.

      View Publication

Recommendations

“Max has been a pleasure to work with, and I have already instructed him on a second matter, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him for future work, particularly in relation to VAT liability disputes.” (Daniel Rice, Senior Manager, Grant Thornton)

“Max’s drafting skills are exceptional, […] clear, succinct and legally correct.” (Solicitor)

“Max was instructed very late on in the day. He managed to grasp the main issues extremely well and quickly. He thought “outside of the box” and managed to advise me of the most appropriate (and safest) way of proceeding.” (Solicitor)

Academic qualifications

  • Law (LLB), University of Exeter
  • International Trade and Commercial Law (LLM), University of Durham
  • Law in a European and Global Context (LLM), Católica Global School of Law, Lisbon
  • Visiting Scholar and JD Exchange, Cornell Law School, NY
  • Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC), City University, London

Professional bodies

  • Revenue Bar Association

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