Until 2019, no single case of the application of the Ramsay principle to a case involving SDLT had come before the courts.

As a matter of practice, HMRC has been reluctant to argue the approach to cases of SDLT avoidance, perhaps bearing in mind the words of Lord Millett in the Arrowtown case (see ¶140-300) that:

‘'Nor can objection be taken to the idea that the words of a particular statute may be too closely articulated to admit to an application of the [Ramsay] principle.'’

The SDLT legislation is indeed ‘closely articulated’ and highly prescriptive, but that has not necessarily deterred the Supreme Court in the UBS case (see ¶140-300).

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