A summary of legal updates for the Private Client industry over the past week is as follows.
Miles v Shearer – 1975 Act case
The claimants have lost their appeal in the long-running Miles v Shearer case. The claimants (adult daughters of the deceased) had claimed reasonable financial provision from their father's £7m estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 after their father's Will left almost all his English estate to his second wife. It is reported that the daughters called their father "the chequebook" and had enjoyed an affluent lifestyle prior to their parents' divorce. The High Court ruled in April 2021 that the deceased had no further obligations to his adult children, as he had made generous provision for them during his lifetime, and the Court of Appeal has upheld this. The Judge found that the daughters’ lifestyle choices were not dependent on any expectation of financial benefit and reiterated that the father had no obligation to financially support his adult children. The case is another example of the high threshold for adult children to make a successful claim under the 1975 Act. EPrivateClient - article (paminsight.com); Miles & Anor v Shearer  EWHC 1000 (Ch) (23 April 2021) (bailii.org) (Court of Appeal judgment not yet available).
HMRC has updated its International Exchange of Information Manual with the lists of the Common Reporting Standard ("CRS") "reportable jurisdictions" and "participating jurisdictions" for 2022. In respect of "reportable jurisdictions" for the 2022 reporting year (relevant when assessing whether an "account" is reportable to HMRC under the CRS for the year ended 31 December 2021), the changes are that Jamaica, Kenya, Maldives and Morocco have been added to the list and Kuwait and Romania have been removed: IEIM402340 - International Exchange of Information Manual - HMRC internal manual - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). The separate list of "2022 participating jurisdictions" relates to those jurisdictions which have (or are expected to have) agreements in place to exchange information with the UK: IEIM400090 – International Exchange of Information Manual – HMRC internal manual – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
The Law Society published a press release on 12 January 2022 following the Ministry of Justice announcement that users of the probate service will pay a single, flat rate fee of £273 from 26 January 2022 (amended from £155 for professional users and £215 for non-professional users). The press release makes the point that the increased fee "should be reflected in new and tangible improvements to the service". Probate fee rise must reflect changes to the service | The Law Society
SDLT and late MDR claims
In Smith Homes 9 Limited v HMRC  UKFTT 5 (TC) (4 January 2022), the First-tier Tribunal ("FTT") has struck-out out an appeal against HMRC's refusal of a claim for Stamp Duty Land Tax multiple dwellings relief ("MDR"), confirming the position in respect of late MDR claims. The taxpayer had purchased an office and did not claim MDR in the SDLT return. After the deadline for amending the SDLT return had passed, the taxpayer made a standalone claim for MDR by way of a repayment claim for overpaid SDLT. Under s.58D(2) Finance Act 2003, an MDR claim must be made in an SDLT return or by amending an SDLT return. The FTT concluded that the taxpayer could not make a repayment relief claim to circumvent the time limits. The decision is consistent with the conclusion in Secure Service Ltd v HMRC  UKFTT 59. Multiple dwellings relief not available after deadline for amending SDLT return (First-tier Tribunal) | Practical Law (thomsonreuters.com)