Patrick Mears, Chair of the General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) Advisory Panel

Patrick Mears, Chair of the General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) Advisory Panel

Mears leads the panel in considering, reviewing, and approving HMRC guidance on the GAAR

Patrick Mears, Chair of the General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) Advisory Panel

Bio

After graduating with a Law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE) in 1979, Mears moved straight into working at Magical Circle law firm, Allen & Overy. He remained there for the entirety of his private sector career, from articles of clerkship, through qualification as a solicitor, to partnership and retirement. He worked there for 32 years in total.

Soon after leaving Allen & Overy, in April 2013, Mears was appointed Chair of the GAAR Advisory Panel by the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs, beginning his “second career”. The Advisory Panel was created to approve HMRC’s General Anti-Abuse Rule guidance, and to provide opinions on cases where HMRC believes the GAAR might apply.

Mears also enjoys his role as Chair of the Alumni Association of LSE. He began this role in November 2013, making him part of a global network of over 118,000 graduates across 190 countries around the world.

Gingerbread is a national charity which has been providing expert advice and practical support to single parent families since its beginning in February 1918. Mears has been a member of the Board of Trustees of this charity for over five years. It is a cause very close to his heart since his wife died just shortly after their daughter was born, and he was a single parent for eight years.

Why did he make the power list?

Mears ranked 50th in the 2018 Financial Power List. As chair of the GAAR Advisory Panel since 2013, Mears leads the panel in considering, reviewing and approving HMRC guidance on the GAAR, and delivering opinions on individual cases referred by the tax authority.

The panel published its first opinion last year on a case involving employee rewards using gold bullion, with more opinions expected to be delivered over the next 12 months by Mears and a new influx of panel members.

The General Anti-Avoidance Rule Advisory Panel

The GAAR took effect from 17 July 2013 and its intention is to counteract “tax advantages arising from tax arrangements that are abusive”.

Tax arrangements exist when obtaining a tax advantage is “one of the main purposes” of the arrangements. This gives potentially wide scope to the legislation and creates the need to consider its provisions when undertaking tax planning. This rule applies across a number of taxes.

HMRC’s guidance sets out the Parliamentary intention that the statutory limit on reducing tax liabilities is reached when arrangements are put in places which go “beyond anything which could reasonably be regarded as a reasonable course of action”.

The GAAR forms part of the tax laws relating to each of the taxes to which it applies and under self-assessment. It is the taxpayer who must decide whether the GAAR applies when completing returns.

 

See who else has made the Financial Power List 2018 and compare this to the Financial Power List 2016.

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