Vodafone Cellular Ltd v G Shaw (Her Majesty’s Inspector of Taxes): CA 20 Mar 1997

The court considered the application of the ‘exclusively’ test for expenditure which was sought to be set off against tax. Examining the leading modern cases, Millett LJ said: ‘the following propositions may be derived. (1) The words for the purposes of the trade mean to serve the purposes of the trade. They do not mean for the purposes of the taxpayer but for the purposes of the trade, which is a different concept. A fortiori they do not mean for the benefit of the taxpayer. (2) To ascertain whether the payment was made for the purposes of the taxpayer’s trade it is necessary to discover his object in making the payment. Save in obvious cases which speak for themselves, this involves an inquiry into the taxpayer’s subjective intentions at the time of the payment. (3) The object of the taxpayer in making the payment must be distinguished from the effect of the payment. A payment may be made exclusively for the purposes of the trade even though it also secures a private benefit. This will be the case if the securing of the private benefit was not the object of the payment but merely a consequential and incidental effect of the payment. (4) Although the taxpayer’s subjective intentions are determinative, these are not limited to the conscious motives which were in his mind at the time of the payment. Some consequences are so inevitably and inextricably involved in the payment that unless merely incidental they must be taken to be a purpose for which the payment was made. To these propositions I would add one more. The question does not involve an inquiry of the taxpayer whether he consciously intended to obtain a trade or personal advantage by the payment. The primary inquiry is to ascertain what was the particular object of the taxpayer in making the payment. Once that is ascertained, its characterisation as a trade or private purpose is in my opinion a matter for the commissioners, not for the taxpayer.’
Millett LJ
[1997] STC 734, [1997] EWCA Civ 1297
England and Wales
CitedMallalieu v Drummond HL 27-Jul-1983
The taxpayer was a barrister. To comply with Bar guidance on court dress, she wore, in court and in and to and from chambers black dresses, suits and shoes and white blouses. The clothing were perfectly ordinary articles suitable for everyday wear. . .
Appeal fromVodafone Cellular Ltd v Shaw (Inspector of Taxes) ChD 8-Mar-1995
A payment buying out technology royalties was not to be allowed against Corporation Tax. The cost of buying out a right to receive a revenue share was an income payment, not a capital payment. . .
CitedMacKinlay (Inspector of Taxes) v Arthur Young McClelland Moores and Co HL 23-Nov-1989
Expenditure does not qualify for deduction if the object of the expenditure was to serve another private purpose in addition to the business purpose for which it was purportedly incurred.
HL Income Tax – . .

Cited by:
CitedDavid Robson v Eric Mitchell (HM Inspector of Taxes) ChD 8-Jul-2004
The taxpayer sought capital gains tax relief of a loan to a business.
Held: To succeed in his claim the taxpayer had to establish that the indebtedness created was to be used entirely to serve the borrower’s business. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 21 April 2021; Ref: scu.141693