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Customs, Avoidance & Retailers

 
Amanda Brown Head of Indirect Tax Legal Services KPMG puts the current avoidance debate into the retail context
 
Historically HM Customs and Excise (C&E) had only really flirted with any general concepts of anti-avoidance combining them with technical challenges but never really pushing the issue. They began more recently to wrestle with the possibility of introducing a General Anti-Avoidance Regulation (GAAR) but after due consideration assigned it to the 'too difficult' pile. The principles established in Ramsay whilst effective in the corporate tax arena did not appear to translate easily into a tool to prevent VAT avoidance. The problem was 'How realistically can transactions be ignored in a transaction-based tax?'. Without a real alternative argument C&E's efforts to address perceived avoidance were likely to come to nought. And...

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