Adam Craggs has become a go-to lawyer for high profile cases involving HNWs. For 16 years he worked in HMRC’s solicitor’s office, but now he finds himself on the other side – working with HNW clients as a partner at international law firm RPC.
That spell earlier in his career, however, remains invaluable. ‘It gave me an insight into the inner workings of the Revenue,’ he tells Spear’s, adding that a number of his colleagues have also previously worked at the Revenue. ‘I genuinely believe that [having worked at HMRC] gives us the edge in the disputes work we undertake for clients involving HMRC.’
One example is the case brought by Craggs’ client Stephen Hoey in the Court of Appeal. At the time of writing Craggs was representing Hoey, challenging a High Court decision which refused a judicial review of the way in which HMRC taxes employee benefit trusts and the operation of the PAYE system. ‘This £30 million- plus case has far-reaching consequences for other taxpayers, and will clarify how HMRC should apply the PAYE code more broadly,’ says Craggs.
It’s this kind of work – as well as his leadership of a well-rounded team at RPC – that caught the judges’ eyes. One noted: ‘Disputes between HRMC and HNWs are on the rise – meaning that tax planning is becoming increasingly difficult. In that context, Adam Craggs is a person many successful people would do well to have by their side.’
Indeed, Craggs foresees further threats to his clients, particularly those who have non-dom status. ‘HMRC are currently very focused on high-net-worths. They tend to follow the money, and as a consequence they concentrate on entertainers, sports people and business people,’ says Craggs. ‘There’s an awful lot of information automatically exchanged between over 100 countries and HMRC under the Common Reporting Standard. So HMRC are gathering a great deal of information, in particular in relation to off-shore trusts and tax planning structures.’
All this means that strong relationships between lawyer and client are more important than ever. ‘We really do need to have that rapport,’ says Craggs. ‘You do need to be available 24/7, because the clients treat you very much as a friend and as a confidant. It’s not just a business relationship.’
Image: David Harrison