Press release

Interim committee to take forward anti tax avoidance work

The Government will appoint an interim advisory group to oversee the development of guidance on the new General Anti-Abuse Rule.

The Government has today announced that it will appoint an interim advisory group to oversee the development of guidance on the new General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR). The GAAR is being introduced to deter and counter abusive tax avoidance, while providing certainty, retaining a tax regime that is attractive to businesses, and minimising costs for taxpayers and HMRC.

At Budget 2012, the Government announced that a GAAR Advisory Panel would be established to give opinions on specific cases and to approve HMRC guidance on the new rule. HMRC will shortly begin the process of advertising for and appointing a Chair of the Advisory Panel, who will then advise HMRC on appointing the other panel members.

This process will not be complete until early next year. Until this time an interim group of panel members led by Graham Aaronson QC will oversee the development of the new guidance, after it is published for public consultation in December.

Graham Aaronson will invite bodies representing business and the professions to work with him, as he brings the interim group together, to ensure that an appropriate spread of interests is involved, including business, tax advisers, and wider taxpayer interests.

The Government anticipates that the Chair of the Advisory Panel will be in post by the end of January 2013, and will join the interim group to provide continuity. HMRC will not be represented on the Advisory Panel (including the interim group), but will support both with administrative and secretariat resources.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke said:

HMRC already has a strong set of weapons to tackle tax avoidance, and the GAAR will be a valuable additional tool in tackling artificial and abusive avoidance schemes. But we are also clear that it must address such schemes without creating uncertainty for business investment. I am pleased that Graham Aaronson will bring to bear the expertise that he and his colleagues have already brought to the GAAR Study Group Report to ensure that HMRC’s guidance is of practical use to all taxpayers.

The Government welcomes the positive engagement of all parties with the GAAR consultation and the time taken by respondents to provide helpful and thoughtful comments. A full Response Document will be published with the draft legislation and draft guidance in December.

Notes for Editors

  1. In December 2010, the Government asked Graham Aaronson QC to lead a study that would consider whether General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) could deter and counter abusive tax avoidance, while providing certainty, retaining a tax regime that is attractive to businesses, and minimising costs for taxpayers and HMRC. The GAAR final report is available on the General Anti-Abuse Rule section of the website.

  2. At Budget 2012, the Government announced that it accepted the recommendation of the Aaronson Report to introduce a General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) targeted at artificial and abusive tax avoidance schemes.

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