Weekly tax brief | 12 August 2020

Upper Tribunal confirms £1m VAT bill for essay-writing provider
Scott Harwood 
An essay-mill provider’s contract with individual writers has been found to come up short of a true agency relationship. The case may now give HMRC impetus to challenge other agreements it believes to be incorrectly held-out as agency. 

Bitter fruit: will claiming a loan charge refund give HMRC a bigger bite of the tax cherry? 
Sian King
HMRC has published guidance on claiming refunds of voluntary restitution included in settlements associated with the loan charge. We are concerned that this guidance fails to address a fundamental question – will claiming a refund now result in another tax bill later? 

SDLT cuts in a pandemic: what’s happening? 
George Bull
The temporary SDLT cut in England and Wales has resulted in a flood of properties coming onto the market, with vendors’ expectations reflected in higher asking prices. Whether that translates into an SDLT-driven boost in completions at higher values remains to be seen. We review the issues and conclude that second home and buy-to-let purchasers may bide their time, not entering the market until after the New Year. 

As more people set up home offices, what is the impact on their capital gains tax? 
Alex Foster
As more individuals set themselves up to work from home, workers need to be aware of the potential to create a capital gains tax bill for themselves when they sell their home.