CIOT: Cautious welcome for GAAR from tax advisers

The announcement in today’s Budget that the government will press ahead with a General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) has been given a qualified welcome by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT).

The CIOT has been actively involved in the debate around a possible GAAR, especially in the wake of the publication of Graham Aaronson’s report. The CIOT’s criteria for an effective GAAR include the need to make sure that the balanced package proposed by Graham Aaronson was maintained, and that the detail of any GAAR gave clear guidelines in terms of what it would apply to.

John Whiting, Tax Policy Director at the CIOT, said:

“We think the government is right to press ahead with a narrowly-targeted GAAR aimed at truly artificial schemes. We welcome the recognition in the announcement that a key need, as we have always said, is for the rule to be practical and certain for taxpayers and HMRC.

“It is also very important to maintain the safeguards for taxpayers in the Aaronson report. This needs to be a balanced package.

“Any GAAR needs to be carefully designed to balance the needs of business and individuals for certainty against the Exchequer’s targeting of what the Chancellor described as ‘morally repugnant’ avoidance.”

Notes to Editors

1. The CIOT, together with the Association of Taxation Technicians and Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, submitted a major paper to HMRC on the GAAR report earlier this year. See


2. The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is a charity and the leading professional body in the United Kingdom concerned solely with taxation. The CIOT’s primary purpose is to promote education and study of the administration and practice of taxation. One of the key aims is to achieve a better, more efficient, tax system for all affected by it – taxpayers, advisers and the authorities.

The CIOT’s comments and recommendations on tax issues are made solely in order to achieve its primary purpose: it is politically neutral in its work. The CIOT will seek to draw on its members’ experience in private practice, government, commerce and industry and academia to argue and explain how public policy objectives (to the extent that these are clearly stated or can be discerned) can most effectively be achieved.

The CIOT’s 15,800 members have the practising title of ‘Chartered Tax Adviser’ and the designatory letters ‘CTA’.