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GAAR guidance should be approved by parliament

As leader of the interim GAAR advisory panel Graham Aaronson QC is being given enormous influence over deciding what tax planning will be prevented by the GAAR. As Mr Aaronson himself recommended this is something that parliament should be doing.

Although it is billed as a protection for taxpayers the proposed GAAR advisory panel presents real practical and constitutional problems not least in relation to its role in approving guidance which the courts will be required to take into account when applying the GAAR.

The inherently unpredictable nature of the central ‘double reasonableness’ test means that the proper functioning of the GAAR will depend upon this guidance which will have quasi-statutory status. Power to determine what is and is not caught by the GAAR or at least to influence it strongly is therefore being delegated to an unelected and unaccountable...

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