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HMRC starts GAAR panel recruitment process

HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS has begun its search for a permanent General Anti-Abuse Rule advisory panel, following the recent appointment of its head, Patrick Mears, the former partner and head of tax at law firm Allen & Overy.

In an advert posted online, the taxman states the eight roles available are voluntary, with the necessary expenses covered. Initial appointments will be for three years, although it is believed there is some flexibility.

Like the interim panel, the permanent panel will be drawn from a broad base of sectors, and will have extensive tax knowledge. The panel will convene six times a year, and it is expected appointments will be made shortly after the interview process is completed in the week beginning 17 June.

The rule, designed to prevent contrived tax avoidance schemes, was included in the 2013 Finance Bill and will take effect once it has received Royal Assent in the summer.

New guidance on the rule’s operation was announced alongside Mears’ appointment, containing examples of the legislation’s purpose and examples of its scope.

In particular, it illustrates that the GAAR may not be applied to international tax arrangements, especially between OECD states with double-taxation treaties. Nor, for example, will the rule cover whether a taxpayer chooses to operate as a sole trader or as a limited company.

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