Top Ten Tax & Trust Lawyers
To her UHNW clients, Ceris Gardner isn’t just an eminent solicitor – she’s also a trusted adviser on international tax, succession and the establishment of UK and offshore trusts to immigration, philanthropy, art and heritage property matters.
She’s seen plenty of churn in the past 24 months. ‘The revenue authorities are flexing their muscles and are bringing a lot of cases. The atmosphere has changed – the whole world is in a state of flux,’ says the Spear’s award-winner and columnist.
‘What is driving clients now is succession: how do we get our structures in order so that our assets can be passed on to the next generation? Obviously there’s a little bit of tax benefits along the way, which is great – but it’s no longer the driving force and hasn’t been for a long time. It’s really stark now.’
Personable and soft-spoken, the founding partner at MTG and Wales rugby fan is critical of schemes such as Ingenious – the David Beckham-backed film funding firm that recently lost its fight against a £700 million tax bill after HMRC argued it was a means of avoiding tax.
Gardner explains: ‘Such complicated and difficult steps and concepts have to be brought to bear to make them work. An awful lot of people – including us – didn’t want to touch them. Too many people jumped on the bandwagon and the Revenue has said, “Enough is enough.”’