This is the case of Gillian Rockall v HMRC (2014) HKFTT 643.
Mr Michael & Mrs Gillian Rockall were involved in running a hotel and conference centre and providing high-end residential courses, amongst the companies assets was a 140 foot ocean-going yacht costing $11.9 million called Masquerade of Sole.
HMRC issued assessments on Mr & Mrs Rockall for the tax years 2000-2001 to 2008-2009 on the basis of personal use (benefit is normally assessed as 20% of the market value).
The Yacht was used for:
- Business Networking
- Customer Training
- Exploring Business Opportunities in the Caribbean and Mediterranean
- Friends and Acquaintances were taken on occassional trips to provide a opinion on opportunities
The Yacht was also placed with an agent for charter when not required for the purposes above.
The First-Tier Tribunal took the view that the use of the Yacht was only for Business and not for private purposes.
However under S203 ITEPA 2003 a benefit in kind would arise because the asset was at the disposal of the employees.
The Rockalls appealed to the First-Tier Tax Tribunal, on the grounds that the use of the yacht was tax-deductible under s365 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA). This requires that the item comprising the benefit in kind was used ‘wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of the employment’.
The tribunal has now ruled that the yacht was bought and operated purely for business purposes and thus was fully tax-deductible for both the Rockalls.