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Tax avoidance: Peers to scrutinise general anti-abuse rule

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Graham Aaronson QC, the barrister whose study group recommended the introduction of a general anti-abuse rule (GAAR) targeted at ‘abusive arrangements’, will give evidence to a House of Lords sub-committee on Monday, 21 January.

Questions will focus on ‘whether the GAAR measures will meet their objectives and to what extent they will deal with the sorts of corporate and individual tax minimising arrangements which have received significant media attention and public outcry in recent months’.

Malcolm Gammie QC, tax barrister and director of the IFS tax law review committee’s research programme, will also give evidence on Monday. In a second evidence session on Wednesday, 23 January, peers will question Patrick Stevens, president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation; Bill Dodwell, chairman of  the CIOT’s technical committee; and Richard Murphy, director of Tax Research.

Stevens is a tax partner at Ernst & Young, and Dodwell is head of tax policy at Deloitte. Aaronson, Gammie and Dodwell are members of Tax Journal’s editorial board.

All ‘interested parties’ are invited to submit written evidence to the committee by Monday, 28 January.

The Lords economic affairs committee appoints a sub-committee each year to examine Finance Bill measures relating to tax administration. The committee will focus this year on ‘the theme of dealing with the avoidance of tax’.

As Tax Journal reported on Wednesday, representatives of the big four accountancy firms are set to be quizzed by the Commons public accounts committee on 31 January as MPs continue their investigation into tax avoidance.

Banking standards

The tax, audit and accounting panel of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards will hear evidence on 23 January from representatives of the ICAEW, ACCA, CIOT and the big four accountancy firms, and on 24 January from senior officials at government departments including HMRC and HM Treasury.