Areas of expertise

Professional information

  • 2021: Admitted to the Faculty of Advocates
  • 2020: Bencher of Inner Temple
  • 2018: Appointed Queen’s Counsel (England & Wales)
  • 2005: Called to the English Bar (Inner Temple)
  • 1999-2004 University of Oxford (Hertford College): BA Law and French Law First Class (2003); Bachelor of Civil Law with Distinction (2004); Diploma in French Law with Mention Bien (2002) (University of Paris II)
Professional experience

Jonathan Bremner specialises in tax. His practice focuses on complex, substantial tax litigation and advisory work. Calm, incisive and forensic in his approach, Jonathan enjoys working collaboratively with clients and other professional advisers. His clients are drawn from a wide range of industry sectors and include large multinationals, major listed companies, owner-managed businesses and high-net worth individuals, as well as local and central government.

Jonathan was called to the English Bar in 2005 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in England & Wales in 2018. He practises in England (regulated by the Bar Standards Board) from One Essex Court (Chambers of Lord Grabiner QC) in London. Jonathan called to the Scottish Bar in 2021.

Notable cases

Jonathan has a broad tax practice. His recent focus has been on the following areas:

International tax

International tax issues (e.g. double taxation relief, permanent establishments, transfer pricing etc) form a substantial part of Jonathan’s practice. Examples of recent cases include:

  • Irish Bank Resolution Corp v HMRC [2020] EWCA Civ 1128, [2020] STC 1946 (also acted before the UT and FTT): Acted for HMRC successfully resisting treaty challenge to attribution of chargeable profits of the permanent establishment of an overseas bank (business profits article of the UK / Ireland double tax treaty; separate enterprise principle).
  • Royal Bank of Canada v HMRC (December 2020; UT – on appeal from [2020] UKFTT 267 (TC), 22 ITLR 747): Appearing for HMRC in a substantial dispute concerning the tax treatment of profits relating to a North Sea oil field and the application of the immovable property article of the UK / Canada double tax treaty (on appeal to the UT).
  • Bloomberg Inc v HMRC [2018] UKFTT 205 (TC), [2018] SFTD 1079: Appeared for HMRC successfully resisting high value claim for intangible fixed assets raising complex issues as to the interpretation of the business profits article of the US / UK double tax treaty.
  • Acting for a US technology company in a transfer pricing dispute before the Mauritian Assessment Review Committee.

EU tax issues

Jonathan has significant, wide-ranging experience of issues concerning the compatibility of the UK tax code with EU law, having acted in numerous cases in the CFC and Dividend GLO, the Franked Investment Income GLO and related matters. Recent work includes:

Business and corporate tax

Jonathan frequently acts and advises in relation to a wide range of business and corporate tax issues.  Recent work has included:

  • Appearing before the Supreme Court in NCL Investments Ltd v HMRC (January 2022; also acted in CA, UT and FTT) (corporation tax treatment of grants of share options, interaction of tax and accounting).
  • Acting in a test case concerning the availability of business premises renovation allowances (London Luton Hotel BPRA Fund LLP v HMRC [2021] UKUT 147 (TCC) (also acted in FTT).
  • Appearing before the Court of Appeal for companies in the FTSE 100 Smith & Nephew group in successful claims for £680m foreign exchange losses (HMRC v Smith & Nephew Overseas Ltd [2020] EWCA Civ 299; also appeared before the FTT and UT);
  • Appearing before the FTT for a global packaging group in successful claims for group relief: LINPAC Group Holdings Ltd v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 60 (TC), [2020] SFTD 575.
  • Appearing for HMRC before the Court of Appeal in Farnborough Airport Properties Company Ltd v HMRC [2019] EWCA Civ 118, [2019] STC 517 (successfully resisting claim for group relief following the appointment of administrative receiver) (also acted before UT and FTT).

Employment and personal taxes

Jonathan has extensive experience of employment and personal tax issues.  Recent work has included:

  • Appearing for the taxpayer in Root2 Tax Limited v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 744 (TC) (spread betting contracts; employment income/NIC).
  • Advising in relation to tax issues arising from HMRC’s COVID-19 Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and Job Retention Scheme.
  • Appearing before the Supreme Court in RFC (2012) PLC v HMRC [2017] UKSC 45, [2017] STC 1556 (the Rangers Football Club employee benefit trust litigation). Jonathan acted in this long running dispute from 2010, appearing before the FTT and UT and assisting Scottish counsel in the Court of Session (Inner House).
  • Appearing for HMRC before the Court of Justice of the European Union in Case C-646/15 Trustees of the P Panayi Accumulation & Maintenance Settlements [2017] STC 2495 (trust taxation / exit taxes / EU law) and in subsequent proceedings before the FTT: [2019] UKFTT 622 (TCC), [2020] SFTD 209 (on appeal to the UT).
  • Acting in disputes concerning employee remuneration structures established by a wide variety of employers.

VAT and other indirect taxes

Jonathan has wide-ranging experience in VAT and other indirect taxes (e.g. SDLT, landfill tax customs duties and excise duties). Recent work has included:


Corporate Tax

“A fearless advocate who has the ability to articulate things such that they become simple to comprehend.” “He is very methodical and calm.” (Chambers UK 2022 (London Bar) – Tax)

 “Jonathan provides carefully thought through advice. He does not pull his punches and he is open to a vigorous discussion. He is aware of the commercial angle to every argument and provides great insight into how the law might practically apply.” (Legal 500 2022 (London Bar) – Corporate Tax)

 “Very accessible, well liked by clients and thorough.” “He is very impressive, shows good attention to detail and produces quality advocacy.” (Chambers UK 2021 (London Bar) – Tax)

“Arguably the leading tax lawyer of his generation. Excellent strategic sense, fearsomely bright, and both a forceful and a polished performer in court. (Legal 500 2021 (London Bar) – Corporate Tax)

“Ferociously intelligent, enormously hard-working and very assured on his feet.” “He’s a very meticulous and very clever tax lawyer.” (Chambers UK 2022 (London Bar) – Tax)

“Brilliant technical mind, strong common sense, admirable and experienced advocate.” (Legal 500 2020 (London Bar) – Corporate Tax)

“Superb both in terms of technical analysis and as an advocate.” “He is thorough and quick, and he works well in a team.” (Chambers UK 2019 (London Bar) – Tax)

“Unruffled when arguing multi-billion pound points.” (Legal 500 2019 (London Bar) – Corporate Tax)

VAT / indirect tax

“Jonathan performs excellently and provides excellent advice to his clients.” “He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the case law and works very hard.” (Chambers UK 2022 (London Bar) – Tax)

 “Very bright and hard-working.” “He is very thorough and extremely intelligent – a pleasure to work with.” (Chambers UK 2021 (London Bar) – Indirect Tax)

 “Responsive, coherent and clear in his advice.” (Chambers UK 2020 (London Bar) – Indirect Tax)

“Brilliant technical mind, strong common sense, admirable and experienced advocate.” (Legal 500 2020 (London Bar) – VAT)

“His technical ability is very strong, his client-handling skills are excellent and he is commercially focused.” (Chambers UK 2019 (London Bar) – Indirect Tax)

“He is extremely clever, has a deep knowledge and understanding of tax.” (Legal 500 2019 (London Bar) – VAT)

Personal tax

“Gives very thoughtful advice, is very approachable and is good with clients.” “Jonathan is highly intelligent and invaluable to have on a case. He is accessible, his advice is technical yet practical and he has good experience.”  (Chambers UK 2022 (London Bar) – Tax: Private Client)

“He is technically excellent and very quick to respond.” (Legal 500 2022 (London Bar) – Private Client: Personal Tax)

“One instructing solicitor describes him as ‘approachable, client-friendly and pragmatic,’ and another notes: ‘I think he gives very thoughtful advice, he is very approachable and he is good with clients. He is one of my favourite barristers to instruct on tax matters.’”’ (Chambers High Net Worth 2021 (London (Bar)) – Tax)

“He has an enviable knowledge of the law but remains accessible and client friendly, which is not easy with tax law.” (Legal 500 2021 (London Bar) – Private Client: Personal Tax)

“Provides you with clear advice.” (Legal 500 2020 (London Bar) – Private Client: Personal Tax)

“He is unafraid to give firm advice.” (Legal 500 2019 (London Bar) – Private Client: Personal Tax)