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HMRC internal manual

Business Income Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Meaning of trade: badges of trade: organisation of the activity

It is a pointer towards trade that the transactions are carried out in the same manner as those of an undisputed trader.

In CIR v Livingston and Others 11TC538 at page 542 Lord Clyde stated:

‘I think the test, which must be used to determine whether a venture such as we are now considering is, or is not, “in the nature of trade”, is whether the operations involved in it are of the same kind, and carried on in the same way, as those which are characteristic of ordinary trading in the line of business in which the venture was made.’

In CIR v Fraser [1942] 24TC498 (see BIM20230) the fact that the whisky was sold in exactly the same way as would be adopted in the course of an ordinary trade in that commodity was an important pointer in favour of a finding that Fraser was trading.

In Ensign Tankers (Leasing) Ltd v Stokes [1992] 64TC617, the Vice Chancellor at page 721G supported the views in Livingston and Fraser.