Friday, July 1, 2011

Two new thoughts about a possible UK tax GAAR

Both of the following were inspired by listening to Graham Aaronson speak at the Wyman Symposium earlier this week.

The acronym
Listening to Graham speak I realised that if he does draft a GAAR it will not be a General Anti-Avoidance Rule. It will be a General Anti-ABUSE Rule. An important distinction. Same initials though....

Who drafts GAARs?
The Irish, Australian and Canadian GAARs were drafted by their Revenue authorities. In each case their judges have subsequently sought to temper the impact of the GAAR - perhaps because it is felt to be overly draconian and impractical.

Graham and his expert committee have now established the principles a UK GAAR would need to satisfy. I summarised an earlier version of these as the GAAR commandments.

Graham is still unsure whether the committee will be able to draft a GAAR that satisfies the key principles. If they succeed the GAAR will be very different to those in other countries. As such the experiences in those places will not be wholly relevant. This is a key point that those who are against the idea of a GAAR really need to take on board.

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