Robert Gaines-Cooper, a Seychelles-based businessman, has lost his appeal against a decision of the Commissioners of Tax that his connection to the Uk and numerous visits here were frequent enough for him to be resident here, based on the ‘physical presence’ test.

The case is important as the decision that he was subject to UK tax was based on the fact that he has paid many visits here on the understanding that the day of arrival and day of leaving the UK did not count as days present in the UK. Although that was the understood position, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) brought the case on the basis that such days are days of physical presence in the UK. Since the commencement of the case, HMRC have issued revised guidance outlining their position on days of arrival and departure.

It was also important to HMRC’s case that he retained strong links to the UK, retaining an estate in Henley, sending his son to public school in England and having his will drawn up under English law. As a result of the decision, he will face a tax bill running into millions of pounds.