HM Revenue & Customs and the Treasury have at last responded to the legal team representing two landlords challenging beleaguered Chancellor George Osborne’s bid to cut buy to let mortgage interest tax relief - but the comments cannot be made public.
LAT readers will have seen in recent weeks the various reports on how landlords Steve Bolton and Chris Cooper are arguing for a judicial review of section 24 of the Finance (No. 2) Act 2015 which includes the proposed restriction of mortgage interest tax relief at a basic rate, even for higher rate-paying landlords.
This follows Osborne’s announcement on the interest tax relief change, initially made back in July. Bolton and Cooper describe the announcement as ending “a long-established principle of taxation that expenses incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the business are deductible when calculating the taxable profits”.
The landlords have now confirmed that the two government departments have responded with an ‘Acknowledgement of Service’ which sets out the grounds on which the departments intend to contest the application for a judicial review.
In a statement on the campaign’s Facebook page the landlords say: “We have received a reply from HMRC and HM Treasury. We now need to speak with our lawyers before issuing any form of statement to ensure that our case is not prejudiced in any way. Sorry we can't share more at this stage but it is critical we take legal advice and ensure we follow the correct protocols.”
Some weeks ago the landlords went public on saying they expected the response to be “aggressive” but they are not in a position to confirm or deny that this indeed is the case.
The landlords are represented by Omnia Strategy LLP, which is led by Cherie Blair QC.