The Court of Appeal in its recent judgement in the Schofield
case has dealt another blow the tax avoidance industry. The
decision was trumpeted yesterday as a victory for the general body
of taxpayers by David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the
Over the past weekend, we also saw Michael Izza, CEO of
the Institute of Chartered Accountants criticising some of the
members of his profession for pedalling tax avoidance
So what's the point of a GAAR now? Its two
most important functions must surely be to change the outcome of
cases which HMRC would otherwise have lost and to deter those who
would seek to undermine the tax system by marketing such
schemes. On the first count, it is difficult to recall a
recent case in which a marketed scheme has found favour in the
courts; perhaps the one exception being the Mayes case on which the
Aaronson report placed such reliance. On the second, the
public mood is now such that taxpayers have to consider the
reputational risk before entering into such schemes and clearly
advisers have to take account of the views of their regulatory
bodies when advising on them.
There are other arguments of course, but the need for a GAAR is
perhaps not as pressing as some might argue and appropriate time
should be given to getting the current proposals right.
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