max schofield e1625053821254

Max Schofield

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

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Max Schofield is a commercial barrister with particular expertise in indirect tax disputes, and is ranked by the 2022 Legal500 directory as a “Rising Star” in the field of VAT.

Max has been instructed to advise and appear on a broad range of tax cases concerning VAT, SDLT, Excise Duties, Remote Gaming Duty, and has a busy practice far beyond his call.

His clients have included social media platforms, television channels, food and drink manufacturers, online casinos, and universities.

Max has been instructed on tax cases concerning:

  • Judicial review and legitimate expectation
  • Online intermediaries under EU law
  • VAT penalties
  • HMRC’s information powers
  • Direct and immediate link for VAT recovery
  • The VAT and Excise Duty treatment of various food and drinks products
  • Francovich claims for breach of EU law
  • Sideways loss relief
  • Multiple dwellings relief
  • Agency
  • Insolvency and winding up petitions
  • Unjust enrichment

In addition to indirect tax disputes and commercial insolvency work, Max utilises his tax expertise to advise on professional negligence cases concerning accountants, solicitors, and tax advisors.

Max was appointed to the Attorney General’s London C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown for five years, starting 1st September 2021.

As a co-editor of the long-running publication “A Handbook of EU VAT Legislation” (Wolters Kluwer), Max keeps his finger on the pulse with regards to changes to VAT law. He is widely published and often invited to give guest lectures at universities and to present papers at symposia.

Max is regularly contacted to provide expert commentary on changes and trends in tax law and policy.

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, Court of Appeal, First Tier Tribunal (Tax) and Upper Tribunal (TCC).

Outside of work, Max enjoys spending time in Portugal, supporting the Chicago Bears, and listening to old blues songs.

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

Notable cases

Cider Of Sweden Limited v HMRC v Ernst & Young LLP [2022] UKFTT 76 (TC)
Acting for the taxpayer, successfully opposing an application by a non-party for access to pleadings and documents in the substantive appeal before the tax tribunal.

Fenix International Ltd v Revenue And Customs [2020] UKFTT 499 (TC)
Acting for the taxpayer, an online social media platform, successfully obtaining a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union on the validity of a European Commission Implementing Regulation.

HMRC v The Core (Swindon) Ltd [2020] UKUT 0301 (TCC)
Acting for the taxpayer, successfully opposing HMRC's appeal – VAT zero-rating – whether FTT erred in reaching its conclusion that Juice Cleanse Programmes should be zero rated as supplies of food rather than standard rated as supplies of beverages – held no – appeal dismissed.

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.


Schofield, M., SDLT MDR: Multiple multiple dwellings appeals, 5 November 2021, Tax Journal, 12

Schofield, M., Sections 116–120 and Schedules 24–29: penalties and interest, (2021), British Tax Review, Issue 4, 434

Schofield, M., VAT zero-rating: An internal conflict, 28 September 2021, AccountingWEB.

Schofield, M., Deluxe Property Holdings Ltd v SCL Construction Ltd: VAT repayment on trust, (2021), British Tax Review, Issue 2, 178.

Schofield, M., Matter of multiplication, 12 November 2020, Taxation, LexisNexis, 12.

Schofield, M., News Corp UK & Ireland Ltd v HMRC: digital newspapers, (2020), British Tax Review 3, 260.

Schofield, M., Landlinx: VAT: HMRC disagreed with its own guidance, 4 August 2020 AccountingWEB.

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.



Max is a specialist in Indirect Tax with a practice far beyond his call, as demonstrated by being ranked in the 2022 Legal500 directory as a “Rising Star” in the field of VAT.

Max has clients in multiple sectors, from the food and drinks industry to construction and the media. His clients have included social media platforms, television channels, food and drink manufacturers, online casinos, and universities. His cases often feature EU law, judicial review, penalties, and procedure, in the First-Tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal, High Court, and European Court of Justice.

In 2021, Max was appointed to the Attorney General’s London C Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown for five years, and accepts instructions from HMRC.

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, Stamp Duty Multiple Dwellings Relief, 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 tax cases, Max advises on professional negligence claims for and against tax advisors and accountants.

Company litigation

Max accepts instructions in relation to directors’ duties, breach of fiduciary duty, shareholder disputes, unfair prejudice petitions, rectification proceedings, and director disqualification.


Max regularly accepts instructions in bankruptcy and insolvency matters, often with a tax/rates angle. He 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 prosecuted petitions arising out of credit union fraud.

  • Articles
    • Schofield, M., Deluxe Property Holdings Ltd v SCL Construction Ltd: VAT repayment on trust, (2021), British Tax Review, Issue 2, 178

      Deluxe Property Holdings Ltd v SCL Construction Ltd

      3PB’s specialist tax and commercial law barrister Max Schofield has analysed the case of Deluxe Property Holdings Ltd v SCL Construction Ltd for the British Tax Review.

      View Article
    • News Corp UK & Ireland Ltd v HMRC: VAT and digital newspapers

      In this article written for the British Tax Review, Max Schofield reviews News Corp UK & Ireland Ltd v HMRC and whether digital versions of newspapers should attract VAT, while printed versions do not.

      View Article
    • VAT: HMRC disagreed with its own guidance

      Max Schofield analyses Landlinx Estates Ltd v HMRC, in which an option agreement over land was broken when the seller backed out and paid the would-be buyer £1.4m. HMRC wanted a slice of the action as VAT on the deal.

      View Article
    • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Claiming against HMRC

      3PB’s tax and commercial litigation barrister Max Schofield has issued a briefing, in tandem with employment barrister Daniel Barnett from Outer Temple Chambers, aimed at UK employers who face difficulties with their Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme payments from HRMC.

      View Article
    • VAT on; VAT off: Martial Arts and the Education Exemption

      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 Article
    • VAT: When you have overpaid your welcome

      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 Article
    • Praesto Consulting: VAT on legal services

      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 Article
  • Recommendations

    ‘Max is clearly compassionate and puts a great deal of effort, time and consideration into his response. He is also approachable and whilst he uses technical jargon where appropriate, such as in his detailed notes, he then follows up with a meeting to discuss the advice note and explains everything so that the clients can understand who clearly do not have his level of VAT knowledge. VAT in particular is a very complex area of tax law and Max is well versed and clearly exceptionally knowledgeable.’

    Legal 500 2022/TAX: corporate and vat/indirect tax/Rising Star/London Bar


    “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.”


    “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.”


View Full CV
  • The Legal 500 - Rising Star 2022 Logo

Legal 500 rankings

  • Rising Star 2022

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 qualifications & appointments

  • Attorney General’s London C Panel of Junior Counsel

Professional bodies

  • Revenue Bar Association