HMRC have now started discussions with the profession in respect of the introduction of a General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) that was first mooted around 10 years ago.
The consultation process could last around 3 months and may well lead to a further update from HMRC in the Autumn Pre Budget Report.
It will be interesting to see how they intend to approach the subject without creating (further) widespread uncertainty within what is already an overly complicated tax system – for example, what would be perceived as “avoidance”? will there be a “Clearance” facility? would there be a motive test?
The cynics among us will no doubt view this as an attempt to introduce some sort of “catch all” net – the reality of course is that it could simply be scatter gun approach with no real motive/substance test behind it.
The reality is we already have a Disclosure Regime which has been in place since 2004 and which has lead to many previously marketed avoidance schemes being legislated against.