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John McArthur

Partner, Head of Tax and Co-Head of Private Client

John specialises in complex tax, trust and succession issues and regularly works with other professional advisers to provide advice on structuring complex multi faceted estates to maximise their tax and succession efficiency.   He regularly provides opinions to other professionals on legal,  tax and other contentious matters including wills, trusts and executries and has significant experience in all areas of personal tax, and tax planning, particularly Inheritance Tax and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

John is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Trust Law and regularly speaks at legal courses for STEP, other legal education providers and the Law Society of Scotland. He presents seminars to other professionals on legal and tax matters and has published articles in the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland and The Scotsman.

John is as a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), a member of  the Association of Taxation Technicians and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation. He is one of the few lawyers in Scotland who can call themselves a Chartered Tax Adviser and he was until recently the Treasurer of a charity with a turnover of around £1m. He is also a member of the Society of Writers to her Majesty’s Signet.



  • Settled a case with HMRC where their solicitors were involved in interviewing the potential witnesses prior to HMRC making a decision about the IHT liability. They agreed that Agricultural Property Relief was available after that meeting. We believe that this was the first time in the UK that this process was followed.
  • Involved in four appeals against IHT Notices of Determination and numerous discussions with HMRC which have settled prior to any Notices being issued. He appeared on behalf of the taxpayer in the IHT penalty case of Cairns v HMRC and was involved in the pre determination discussions with HMRC for the only inheritance tax case to proceed directly to the Inner House of the Court of Session in the last 25 years, Linlithgow v HMRC.


John McArthur

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John McArthur is very experienced with a good balance of technical knowledge and practicality.

The Legal 500

Recent News & Insights by John

04 April 2023 | Time to read: 2 mins

Business Property Relief for Woodland Carbon Code and Peatland Code

By John McArthur

With the Government's commitment to Net Zero by 2050, we discuss the business property relief for the Woodland Carbon Code...

28 October 2022 | Time to read: 4 mins

What are the tax implications of selling the family home?

By John McArthur

There can be many reasons for deciding to sell the family home, but what are the tax considerations we need...

02 August 2022 | Time to read: 5 mins

Safe as Houses

By John McArthur

With strong commercial reasons for doing so, many land and property owners have diversified into holiday letting to benefit from...

15 June 2022 | Time to read: 26 mins

Trust Law In Scotland – Where Are We Now?

By John McArthur

August 19th, 2021 marked the centenary of the Trust (Scotland) Act 1921, the last substantive act on trust law in...

Tags: Trusts
Lawyers in Edinburgh
Solicitors in Edinburgh
Family Solicitors/Lawyers in Edinburgh

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