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GAAR advisory panel seeks National Insurance expertise

National insurance expertise is being sought by the GAAR advisory panel, with it looking to add to its roster of tax specialists, HMRC has confirmed.

The panel is looking to broaden its knowledge of employment income and national insurance contributions, and is advertising for a new recruit.

The GAAR rule was one of the government’s first and biggest moves in its battle against tax avoidance, and is designed to prevent contrived tax avoidance schemes and was included in the 2013 Finance Bill.

Patrick Mears, former partner and head of tax at law firm Allen & Overy, heads the panel and is now leading the search for the latest voluntary member.

There are currently six members of the advisory panel, comprising consulatant at Linklaters solicitors Michael Hardwick, vice-president for group tax at Burberry Brian Jackson, partner at Boodle Hatfield solicitors Sue Laing, business adviser to SMEs Gary Shiels and partner at Armstong Watson Bob Wheatcroft.

One member originally appointed by Mears, Baker Tilly tax partner David Heaton, left his position in controversial circumstances in September 2013 after being filmed by a BBC Panorama journalist describing a niche avoidance scheme at a conference.

The initial appointment is for three years, although HM Revenue & Customs said there is “some flexibility” possible.

“Applicants will have knowledge and expertise in relation to employment income taxes and NIC and be committed to making the GAAR legislation work efficiently and effectively. The Panel is broad based, balanced and cohesive, with expertise covering the various taxes to which the GAAR applies,” HMRC said in its advertisement of the post.

The panel will meet six times a year in London, with necessary expenses covered.

Applications are to be made by 17 December 2014.

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