GAAR panel membership announced

THE COMPOSITION of the General Anti-Abuse Rule advisory panel has been revealed, after a six-week recruitment process.

Patrick Mears, former partner and head of tax at law firm Allen & Overy, heads the panel and led the search for members, appointing six successful candidates to fill the voluntary roles.

Mears has appointed: 

• Michael Hardwick – consultant at Linklaters solicitors
• David Heaton – Partner at Baker Tilly accountants
• Brian Jackson – Vice-president for group tax at Burberry
• Sue Laing – Partner at Boodle Hatfield solicitors
• Gary Shiels – Business adviser to SMEs
• Bob Wheatcroft – Partner at Armstrong Watson accountants

Like the interim panel, the permanent panel is drawn from a broad base of sectors, and possesses extensive tax knowledge. The panel is to convene six times a year and initial appointments are to last for three years, subject to review.

The panel will help determine whether tax arrangements fall foul of anti-avoidance legislation. 

The rule, designed to prevent contrived tax avoidance schemes, was included in the 2013 Finance Bill.

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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