GAAR: the general anti-abuse rule

On 17 July 2013, the UK introduced a new general anti-abuse rule (GAAR). The GAAR applies to income tax, capital gains tax, corporation tax (and amounts charged as if they were corporation tax, e.g. the bank levy), petroleum revenue tax, stamp duty land tax (the annual tax on enveloped dwellings) and inheritance tax. It will be extended to cover national insurance contributions in due course.

The stated purpose of the GAAR is to counteract ‘tax advantages arising from tax arrangements that are abusive’. The broad scope of the concepts of ‘tax advantages’ and ‘arrangements’ casts the GAAR’s net wide and requires an examination of whether one of the main purposes of the arrangements is to obtain a tax advantage…

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