Group formed to study GAAR potential

A STUDY GROUP has been formed to examine whether the UK would benefit from a general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR).

The group, headed by commercial tax lawyer Graham Aaronson, will look at how GAARs and other anti-avoidance principles work in other countries, what a GAAR in the UK could achieve and what the basic approach of a GAAR should be.

It will report its findings to exchequer secretary David Gauke by the end of October.

Other members of the committee include:
• John Bartlett, group head of tax at BP;
• Judith Freedman, professor of taxation law at Oxford University’s Centre for Business Taxation;
• Sir Launcelot Henderson, judge of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice;
• Lord Hoffmann, judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong;
• Howard Nowlan, former tax partner at Slaughter and May and part time judge of the First Tier Tax Tribunal; and
• Professor John Tiley, director of the Centre for Tax Law at Cambridge University.

Gauke said the study group “will be bringing their collective expertise to bear on whether a general anti-avoidance rule could deter and counter tax avoidance, while providing certainty, retaining a tax regime that is attractive to businesses, and minimising costs for businesses and HMRC”.

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