Max Schofield

Year of Call: 2016
Email Address:
Telephone: 020 7583 8055

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Max Schofield is a commercial chancery barrister with an interest in VAT liability and rates as well as contractual disputes and commercial injunctions.

Max has been instructed to advise and appear in his own right on a broad range of indirect tax cases concerning 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.

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 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. Max has also been invited to give guest lectures at a number of UK universities.

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.


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

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., Corporate Governance and Tax: Stronger Together, (2015), Governance Lab, Working Paper No. 01/2015.

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



  • Commercial
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    Commercial and Chancery

    Many of Max’s cases involve disputes in the High Court as sole counsel and have included advising on matters concerning unjust enrichment as well as multi-party contractual disputes, agency disputes, and Non-Party Disclosure Orders. Furthermore, Max has a detailed knowledge of freezing injunctions and has drafted applications and affidavits for urgent freezing orders with elements of fraud and dishonesty.

    Max utilises his tax expertise to advise on professional negligence cases concerning accountants and tax advisors.


    In addition to his academic commitments involving authoring papers and lecturing at universities, Max has a number of cases at various stages of disputes against HMRC, advising and appearing before the tribunal in his own right. Max has successfully resolved disputes with HMRC before they progress to the Tribunals, including settling multi-million pound assessments in the taxpayer’s favour.

    He specialises in contentious VAT matters with a specific interest in zero and reduced rate liabilities of products including food and beverages. 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 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.


    • 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 -

      View Publication


“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

Professional bodies

  • Revenue Bar Association