Jonathan Kinnear KC

Jonathan Kinnear KC

"Jon is a star of the Bar. Brilliant on his feet, engaging with clients, navigates difficult legal and practical issues with ease and very accessible. Solicitors are grateful for the superb all round service he delivers."

Legal 500 UK 2023
Year of call: 1994 (Northern Ireland 1996) KC: 2012
For enquiries please call: 020 7353 5324 or email vcard cv linkedin save


Jonathan has a very significant indirect tax practice, specialising in VAT, excise and other customs duties and has appeared in many of the most complex cases across the full range of jurisdictions, the Tax Tribunals, the Administrative Court and the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal. In 2016 and 2017 he appeared in the two leading Court of Appeal decisions in respect of the application of the Kittel principle and the jurisdiction of the UT on appeal.

Jonathan is Head of the 2 Hare Court tax team.

Having originally gained years of experience in the criminal prosecution of the most serious and complex tax cases he has brought and applied his advocacy, trial acumen and incisive cross-examination to the Tax Tribunals and civil courts.

He has conducted scores of cases in the FTT and UT over the last 10 years with a total value of several hundred million.

Notable Cases:

Recent taxpayer work

Advising a multi-national oil and gas distribution company in respect of an investigation by HMRC.

Advising a NYSE listed international heating solutions firm in respect of a large scale HMRC investigation.

Advising an Isle of Man based HNWI in respect of various regulatory investigations and the drafting of due diligence protocols.

Representing numerous corporate clients in high value investigations by HMRC and the subsequent Tribunal and Judicial Review proceedings.

R. (S&S Consulting Services (UK) Ltd) v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2021] EWHC 3174 (Admin)

Successfully acted for HMRC in Judicial Review proceedings relating to a decision to deregister a trader for VAT on the Ablessio Principle.

HMRC v Citibank & Ebuyer – [2017] EWCA Civ 1416; [2017] B.V.C. 47

Successfully acted for HMRC in the Court of Appeal Civil Division, which overturned the decision of the UT, concluding that HMRC did not have to plead dishonesty on the taxpayer’s part in missing-trader fraud cases, because dishonesty was not part of the knowledge element of the Kittel test.

HMRC v Davis & Dann – [2016] EWCA Civ 142; [2016] S.T.C. 1236; [2016] B.V.C. 11; [2016] S.T.I. 1157;

Successfully acted for HMRC in the Court of Appeal Civil Division – The Upper Tribunal had erred in overturning a determination by the First-tier Tribunal that a trader seeking a VAT repayment of over £8 million in connection with its large-scale purchase of razor blades ought to have known that the only reasonable explanation for its transactions was that they were connected with VAT fraud. The Upper Tribunal had not looked at the totality of the evidence, and its conclusion that the transactions could be seen as ordinary market transactions was not supported by the evidence.

HMRC v Safe Cellars [2017] EWHC 1957 (QB);

In 2016 and 2017 Jonathan acted for HMRC in all of the multi-jurisdictional cases in respect of Safe Cellars, which involved the revocation of its WOWGR and other authorisations. This included substantive appeal proceedings in the FTT, injunctive actions in the Admin Court and claims for damages in the High Court.

HMRC v Carbondesk

Successfully acted for HMRC in respect of a £98 million carbon credits fraud. This was the first case of its type to come before the FTT. Carbondesk dropped its appeal after it was unsuccessful in efforts to argue that the time limits for the issuing of the assessments had expired.

HMRC v Megantic Services Limited

Longest ever First-tier Tribunal case lasting for 61 days relating to the denial of over £28 million of input tax. The case involved over 2000 deal chains involving complex contra-trading transactions. The papers ran to in excess of 200,000 pages.

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