Archive for the ‘Avoidance’ Category


Resource usage

April 7, 2016

If you look at HMRC’s list of deliberate tax defaulters here you’ll see pubs and sandwich bars, window salesmen and an eBay trader.  You won’t see many accountants or wealth management companies and there’s nothing there that screams to me “concealed overseas assets and income”.

There’s an interesting piece of qualitative research here which looks at the attitudes of people given prison sentences for tax evasion as a result of the “volume crime initiative” – which looks at VAT fraud, undeclared income and use of fraudulent documents.

And, I don’t know about your google skills, but I can’t seem to find a more recent “HMRC most wanted” list than this one from 2013 which shows a gallery of… well, click on them yourselves.  VAT fraud, fag smuggling, a smuggler of non-EU garlic incorrectly described as ginger

I have a simple question for HMRC.  How many staff (how many “FTE” – full time equivalent – staff) are engaged on the detection, investigation and prosecution of booze and fag smuggling.  And how many are engaged on examining the Panama papers and will be allocated to investigate and ultimately prosecute any wrongdoers?


Before the Panama papers…

April 4, 2016

I am writing this at seven o’clock on Monday evening, before Panorama airs its programme on the Panama papers, so it’s not based on any knowledge of the programme but on the various comments I have seen on FaceBook and other social media today.  I just want to say three things.

First, tax is not “a private matter” (as the PM’s spokeswoman apparently told The Guardian).  The Prime Minister’s salary is £143,462 and is widely used as a measure of what is meant by a substantial salary, not least in various shock horror stories in the press.  If he is also the beneficiary of an offshore family trust which hasn’t paid tax, do we really think this is a “private matter” or something which should be disclosed in the public interest?

Secondly, is it not time that we took the shackles off HMRC with regard to taxpayer confidentiality more generally?  As Jolyon Maugham has written today:

I could stand, smiling, on national news, next to HMRC’s Chief Executive and declare that I had paid every penny I owed and even if HMRC’s Chief Executive knew this [to be] an outrageous lie she would still not be able to contradict me.

Personally I can see no reason why tax returns should not be open to publication under the Freedom of Information Act, and particularly that MPs’ and Lords’ returns ought to be laid before Parliament (so that it would be a resignation matter were they found to be inaccurate).  But if that is a step too far, can those clever legal eagles amongst us not devise some form of unshackling that at the very least allows HMRC to give one of three responses when asked:

  • This person has made a return and their self assessment has not been audited.
  • This person’s self assessment has been audited and no major issues were found.
  • This person’s self assessment has been audited and either negotiations are ongoing or they have repaid £x tax plus £y interest and £z penalties.

Finally: can HMRC deal with the Panama Papers effectively at all?  By which I mean, do they have the resources?  Back in 2013 ARC, the union of senior managers in HMRC, put forward a Budget submission where they requested

Additional legal resources, 150 trained lawyers and 50 legal assistants, to accelerate litigation of the Tribunal backlog and accelerate yield.

Cost       £45.5m
Projected yield over 4 years to 2016/17       £2000m

Did they ever get their 200 additional legal and paralegal staff?  Are they now staffed to examine the panama papers and take forward any prosecutions that might arise?  Does the government seriously want them to, or would it rather they sat quietly on their hands, or “worked within their funding envelope”?

Take a wild guess.


Greg Wise and the Sealions

February 8, 2016

Isn’t it time we stopped sea lioning the debate about tax avoidance?

“Sea lioning” is a useful new internet coinage that originates with this cartoon – you start off talking on the internet about something and are constantly interrupted by people – polite, reasonable-sounding people – asking you to back up your statements.   What’s wrong with that, you say?  Speaking as a trainee academic, absolutely nothing, I reply.  Except sealioning isn’t quite that…

For the person doing it, it’s a way of avoiding the issue by tying up the opponent in red tape.  Make them prove their assertions, their arguments, their premises line by line.  The earth is round, you say?  Can you cite your evidence for that, please?

For the person on the receiving end, it’s like arguing with a sponge.  It soaks up all your time and energy and gives nothing back.

Every time there’s a story about tax avoidance, every, single, time, there are the same arguments.  It’s all legal.  Companies are only maximising shareholder returns as they’re obliged to do.  The law is too complicated, but that’s the responsibility of law makers, not the tax industry.

I like following this kind of thing on twitter.  There’s a lively bunch of tax mavens on twitter but the use of a hashtag means there are all kinds of people joining in the debate.  It’s a bit like shouting at the television, but the television shouts back.

Any programme about tax, like the Dispatches programme I’ve just watched?  First random example I clicked on:

Do you think we could just park that, park all the other “avoidance is perfectly legal” arguments for the moment, the length of the tax code, the tax is theft arguments, add your own favourite.  Just park them.  Just for the moment.


Now.  Some people think paying tax is voluntary.  Can we perhaps agree that this is a bad idea, and work back from that?



Crickhowell: the town that went offshore

January 22, 2016

“Either we all pay tax, or none of us do!”

There are just three things I want to say about The Town That Took on the Taxman, the show originally trailed as the “Town that Went Offshore“.  I missed it when it was on BBC2 (9pm on Wednesday 20th) but caught up with it on iplayer.  If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend doing the same.

First of all, I enjoyed it enormously.  We have seen the same material before: the production team fancies a quick weekend somewhere sunny so they pick their tax havens carefully.  Oh look, there are supposed to be thousands of companies in that little house with all the brass plates on the door… Yes, but this time the explanation of the Dutch Sandwich avoidance scheme was done by ordinary small traders from the Welsh town of Crickhowell.

Which is, really, my second point.  Arise, tax muggles!  The USP for this programme was that the avoidance scheme was devised and operated by a group of ordinary people, not tax specialists.  Crickhowell is, apparently, a small town with a unique high street ecology made up of local small traders, not multinational chains (except for Boots, who at least they managed to shame into joining in with the Christmas lights).  But by the end of the show they were also tax campaigners.

The production team set them up with meetings with tax professionals who explained how multinationals reduce their corporation tax bills with items like payments for intellectual property.  But it seems to have been the small traders themselves who came up with the idea of creating intellectual property in the form of the Fair Tax Town brand and then parking it in the Isle of Mann company they’d opened.

In other words, tax really doesn’t have to be taxing: ordinary people are perfectly able to understand tax schemes and issues when they are motivated to understand them and have someone able to communicate with them clearly.  HMRC’s stakeholder model involves talking to “stakeholder” groups: usually to tax professionals in accountancy and law firms and those employed by industry groups.  What they need to do, in my view, is talk to small traders like the Crickhowell independents, too.  One of the main grievances the group raised with Jim Harra was, indeed, the HMRC “relationship managers” large businesses have and why aren’t small traders treated to the same level of customer service.  Money, is the simple answer.  But it’s also an excuse: HMRC’s customer service offering needs a really good re-think in my view.  Good on the Crickhowell team if they can disrupt the system enough to get that done.  (And, bring back the Small Firms Impact Test!)

Finally, the elephant in the room.  You didn’t notice?  Well, there was an engaging team of Crickhowellians throughout the programme, men and women, so I suppose you could be forgiven.  But the presenter’s constant reference to “the taxman” grated, and made me notice. That they spoke to tax barrister David Quentininvestigative journalist Tom Bergin, author of The Great Tax Robbery Richard BrooksJim Harra, an actual taxmansceptical voice Richard Murphy , tax barrister Jolson Maugham

You see the common thread? #wherearethewomen?  It’s not as if Women in Tax are hard to find!



September 16, 2014

Property again.  Was it the duck houses that irrevocably tainted the relationship between our government and the governed in the area of property policy?  Anyway, duck houses are the first things that come to my mind in connection with the idea we should reduce the administrative burden of the ATED – the annual tax on enveloped dwellings.

Because ATED is a rich buggers’ tax: it’s the “not-quite-a-Mansion-Tax” tax on houses that are owned by some kind of corporate entity to avoid Stamp Duty Land Tax.  The idea is that if you and I live in a house we own and then sell it we don’t pay capital gains tax but, if the house is worth enough, we have to pay stamp duty.  If we own two houses and sell one of them, well, we only get the CGT exemption (broadly) for one house at a time.  So if we had to sell the estate in Scotland to finance the country house in Berkshire we’d have to pay capital gains tax on the estate (pause for hollow laughter, because capital gains tax is a notoriously voluntary tax) and Stamp Duty Land Tax.  So we’d put the estate into a company, preferably offshore, and just sell the shares in the company instead, right?  Hence ATED, an annual tax on “enveloped dwellings” – houses that are put into some kind of corporate ownership rather than being owned by a natural person.

In that light, the fact that the tax only started in April last year and already the buggers are wanting the “burden” of administering the tax to be eased seems preposterous to me: the condoc says upfront that the entire aim of ATED in the first place is

to discourage enveloping, to encourage the de-enveloping of property and to ensure that those who continue to hold property in this way pay a fair share of tax

The consultation also says it should be read “by those currently within the charge to ATED… those who are likely to fall within the regime in the future, ATED practitioners and representative bodies” (Pause to boggle at the thought that there are already “ATED practitioners”)  Yes, I know that there are inoffensive businesses which have to claim exemption from ATED and it is, presumably, reducing the administrative burden on these which is the aim of the consultation.  They are listed as:

1) property rental businesses (including preparation for sale, demolition and conversion);

2) dwellings opened to the public;

3) property developers (including exchange of dwellings interests);

4) property traders carrying on a property trading business;

5) financial institutions acquiring dwellings in the course of lending;

6) dwellings used for trade purposes (occupation by qualifying employees and partners);

7) farmhouses (occupation for the purposes of carrying on a trade of farming) and

8) providers of social housing. (2.6)

You know, I might have been persuaded that there was some legitimate policy aim in here, if I hadn’t read on, past the list of inoffensive businesses to the list of those who have already been engaged in “informal discussions” with HMRC.

They’re helpfully listed in Annex A: let’s play “spot the one whose interests most closely align with your own.”

Barratts PLC

British Land Company

British Property Federation

Burges Salmon


Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)

Clifford Chance

Council for Licensed conveyancers


Ernst & Young

FTI Consulting


Hunters Solicitors


Law Society

National Landlords Association

Rawlinson & Hunter

Smith & Williamson

Stephenson Harwood

Taylor Wimpey PLC

All worthy enterprises, of course, but what about the rest of us?  Isn’t this all really a bit like… asking MPs to decide their own expenses claims???



I circumvent, you avoid, he -?

September 11, 2014

“…The previous rules applied only where the worker’s contract was one where he was obliged to provide services personally. It was therefore possible to circumvent the legislation by placing a right of substitution into the contract.” (from Taxation 20 August £)

And this is why we’ll never have tax simplification.



July 17, 2014

If you go here, you will see that HMRC have published a list of the DOTAS schemes which are to be subject to accelerated payment, provided the government passes the legislation.

This is what the list looks like:

2014-07-16 19.55.57

What’s the line again?  Oh yes: “The problem with that proposal is that it is data, not information.”

Transparency, anyone?



Guest Post: The Honest (White) Collar

January 7, 2013

This is a guest post by FTD the barrister and author behind the blog.

With much fanfare this week Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs announced their top thirty two tax cheats of 2012. Reminiscent of ‘America’s Most Wanted’ the mug shots of these ‘tax cheats’ was shown on television, in the newspapers and has been widely publicised on the internet.

If you missed it:

I don’t like it. I don’t like it because it’s crass and tabloid.

And, I don’t like it because I’m proved right.

In 2005, I was a law student and in the early part of the year the Inland Revenue was merged with HM Revenue & Customs to become HMRC. I remember writing a scathing essay about how the ‘co-op culture’ of the Inland Revenue was incompatible with the ‘cop culture’ of Customs.

Combine that with the prospect of staff being moved over to the Serious Organised Crime Agency on the horizon and it was all getting a little culturally confusing.


England and Wales have had three ‘law enforcement’ agencies to deal with as individuals. The police, the revenue and customs.

Of those, the most ‘enforcement’ driven was customs. Customs for centuries have raised billions of £s for the treasury by enforcing the law with regard to import and export. They have very little protective function and a very high enforcement function.

If you ask the older wigs around Temple what Customs were like, they will tell you some stories. If you were against a dodgy customs officer then they put a bent copper in the shade.

Remember, the police are still tethered (although pulling) to a leash: policing by consent. British sensibilities would never allow a police force which was full enforcement orientated. Comparatively, Customs were set up with no such leash, they had a job, catch the rum smugglers etc, extract the duties owing.

Of course, not everyone tries to smuggle dodgy gin, or commits criminal offences – but, everyone does pay taxes. So, at the other end of the scale was the Inland Revenue. An enforcement agency to an extent, but an agency which tried to co-operate with the tax payer to obtain dues owing.

My fear was always that customs culture would overwhelm the co-operative culture of the Inland Revenue.

By example, prior to 2006, today’s advertised top taxcrims would have been dealt with by:

Operation Inertia – MTIC fraud (VAT) – would have been a Customs job.

Operation Hippolamp – Tobacco duty evasion –  would have been a Customs job.

Operation Recuprical – Tax fraud –  Inland Revenue (possibly police)

Operation Reinforce – Import duty evasion would have been a Customs job.

Operation Rust – Alcohol duty evasion – would have been a Customs job.

Operation Tulipbox – VAT fraud – would have been a Customs job.

Operation Snowbank – Duty evasion – would have been a Customs job.

Operation Tousle 95 – Tobacco duty evasion – would have been a Customs job.

Operation Hazel Lamp – Tobacco duty evasion – would have been a Customs job.

Operation Vara – Import duty evasion – would have been a Customs job.

… should have been a customs job.

Clearly this latest piece of HMRC PR is a customs job. And, combined with the eyes. yes, you’ve all seen the ‘undeclared income eyes’ on bill boards, the tube, the train on the sides of buses.

It would seem to me that customs culture has won out. Combat don’t co-operate. The days of Moira Stuart, the cartoon of the Revenue man in the bowler hat: tax doesn’t have to be taxing are gone.


Why do I say it’s wrong? I don’t know the figures, whether enforcement or co-operation are better. But, what I do know is that a culture of enforcement rather than co-operation widens the caste of people who are to be potentially criminalised, not only is that crass, it’s wrong.

It’s all too us and them, the Government suspects everyone, suspects we’re all at the tax dodge. Forget the fact that most of you pay your taxes PAYE.

People are less likely to be open with HMRC if they think they are a suspect rather than a customer. Afterall, to coin a phrase which all coppers love to hate, ‘my taxes pay your wages mate.’


Visit for more blog posts about criminal justice today in the UK.



A no brainer.

December 6, 2012

Anyone with a home worth over £1million now facing a visit from elite tax inspectors” Well, up to a point, Lord Copper!

Let’s have a look, shall we?

The announcement was of a further 100 staff for the “affluence unit”, the bit of HMRC that looks at the tax affairs of people with more than a million quid. As the Telegraph article says

The unit, comprising 200 investigators and technical specialists in six locations across the UK, focuses on people who are evading or avoiding tax.

And, looking for the official announcement that was the initial impetus for this non-story, I see that Danny Alexander announced the unit was expanding from 200 to 300 staff, and with a remit to look at people with £1 million rather than, as before, £2.5 million.

OK then.  So how many millionaires are there?  The Treasury press release estimates half a million but – going back to The Telegraph, where we started – that seems to be a pre-crash figure and their current estimate is 280,000.  I’m not saying I prefer the Telegraph’s figures to the Treasury’s, you understand!  But let’s be generous and take the lower figure.

So we have 300 HMRC staff looking into the tax affairs of 280,000 people.

280,000 divided by 300 is 933.333 according to my calculator.  So let’s round it down and say each of these HMRC staff deals with the tax affairs of 900 millionaires.  Yes, according to the Telegraph’s own figures each worker in the Affluent Unit will need to spread their investigative powers over 900 millionaires.  According to the Treasury’s, over perhaps twice that.  Where on earth will they find the time to go nosing around blameless individuals whose houses have just drifted up in value?  It’s scaremongering, forget about it.

What is more interesting is the announcement that HMRC will have more resources in the autumn statement.  It’s here, in line 32 of the policy decisions:

 £ million
 Head 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
32 HMRC investment Spend -10 -80 -25 0 0 0

Ten million in the current year, eighty million next year, £25m in the final year of the coalition and then zilch.  Hmmm… David Gauke’s written ministerial statement on December 3rd clarified this a bit: the 100 staff for the affluent unit are in there, plus some warm words about transfer pricing and centres of excellence.  But the figures are a bit off:

 A further £77 million will be provided to HMRC in this spending review period to further expand its anti-avoidance and evasion activity focused on offshore evasion and avoidance by wealthy individuals and by multinationals.

Well, 10+80+25 = 115 in my book, so if HMRC are getting 115 million and using 77 million on anti-avoidance and evasion, what are they going to use the other  38 million on, do we think?  I’m sure it’s hidden in the small print somewhere but I haven’t come across it yet – anyone?  (maybe they’re upping the £42 they can spend on each business for RTI by another, erm, sixteen quid apiece?)

But look here, at the ARC union website.  Now, ARC stands for Association of Revenue and Customs senior staff and it’s the branch of the FDA which covers senior staff in HMRC, tax inspectors, lawyers, senior managers and a bunch of other professions, economists and the like.  And they have a paper, Reducing the UK Tax Gap – Proposals from ARC. (which isn’t exactly prominent on the site, but if you look at the entry for December 3rd you’ll find it in the “notes for editors” from a press release they apparently put out on 30th November, presumably by leaving it in the statutory locked filing cabinet in the basement office marked “beware of the leopard”!)

What interests me is the suggestion that you could put resources into HMRC’s legal services:

Additional legal resources, 150 trained lawyers and 50 legal assistants, to accelerate litigation of the Tribunal backlog and accelerate yield. Cost £35m. Projected yield £2000m

One of the things that worries me about the extra hundred staff for the affluent unit is, where are they going to come from?  Because trained tax professionals don’t actually grow on trees, and HMRC has always been rubbish at planning for the future and making sure it has enough trained tax professionals coming online to replace natural wastage from retirements and resignations.  You can’t just go out and hire a hundred trained tax professionals – largely because the accountancy profession, where you might find people with at least analogous skills – pays a damned sight more than HMRC.

But you could go out and recruit a hundred and fifty lawyers tomorrow.  Because lawyers train themselves, or at least pay for their own training, and there are supply and demand issues in the legal profession which there aren’t in tax at the moment.  So you couldn’t find 150 trained tax lawyers – they get shedloads more than HMRC tax lawyers, I’m told.  But you could get 150 criminal lawyers, trained litigators, and start taking some of the backlog of tribunal cases to tribunal as fast as the tribunal could accommodate them.

ARC think an investment of £35m could bring in two thousand million.  And HMRC seem to have £38m left over, so it’s a no brainer, surely?  Why on earth not?



September 14, 2012

I’m having trouble finding the work of literature in which I first encountered the word “Garn!” but I’m reassured by Wiktionary listing it as a cockney word that “expresses disbelief or mockery” (and hinting it was probably Pygmalion).   Having established its existence – garn, you didn’t believe I was making it up, did you? – I propose forthwith that we stop calling for a General Anti Avoidance Rule (GAAR) and instead talk about the General Anti-avoidance Rule Notion – GARN.

Because I don’t believe we’ll ever have one.  Not a rule that actually works, anyway, where “works” is defined as “making a difference”.  Look, for example, at page 33 of the consultation on A General Anti-Abuse Rule, the Tax Impact Assessment, where the Exchequer impact is given as follows:

The GAAR will support the Government’s aim of reducing tax avoidance and will both raise and protect revenue. The revenue impact will reflect the targeting on artificial and abusive avoidance schemes, but will depend on the final design of the proposal. Any final Exchequer impact will be assured by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Uhuh.  Now, you may recall that I obtained the internal instructions on how to prepare a tax impact assessment under the Freedom of Information Act (go here to see the full instructions) but let me just quote the bit about what to say in a formal consultation document about the Exchequer Impact:

If the measure is not yet scored so a 5-year scorecard costing has not been published, don’t enter one. Instead enter a statement giving an indication of the order of magnitude of the costing, and stating that the final costing will be subject to OBR scrutiny.  (my emphasis)

Well, I see a reference to the Office for Budget Responsibility (“OBR scrutiny”) but what indication is there of the order of magnitude of the problem and the amount of any tax to be raised or saved as a result of introducing these proposals?

Anyway, this is what I sent to the policy team: the consultation closes today so you’ve still got time to send an email to if you’d like to add your two-pennorth.

This is an individual’s response and is also being published, with commentary, on my blog at

First of all, Graham Aaronson’s report says that “tax planning is an entirely appropriate response to the complexities of a tax system such as the UK’s” and section 2 of the condoc says “The GAAR should not affect what the Report describes as “the centre ground of tax planning”.” I wonder therefore why you are tinkering at the edges rather than trying to simplify the tax system so that avoidance and the “centre ground of tax planning” is engineered out of the system altogether?

However I appreciate that isn’t within the scope of this consultation so I will address the specific questions you have asked.

1. Do you agree that the GAAR should be limited to the taxes and duties set out in clause 1(3) of the Draft GAAR initially?

No: but then I feel the best options, in order of preference, are a radical simplification of the tax system to engineer out avoidance, or if that cannot be effected, a broad-spectrum GAAR. In this case the GAAR itself is so narrowly drawn it will make little or no difference that its scope is also limited. It’s a fly-whisk, when you need an elephant gun.

2. Do you agree that the GAAR should be capable of counteracting UK tax advantages obtained under double tax agreements?


3. Do you agree that (1) the proposed “main purpose” rule serves as a useful filter, when coupled with the concept that arrangements must also be “abusive” and (2) a specific exclusion for arrangements without tax intent is not required? If you think a specific exclusion is required, please explain why.

I disagree: “purpose” is irrelevant. If an arrangement produces an abusive tax consequence I personally don’t care if the abuse was accidental! (And, in case it’s not obvious I’m being sarcastic here, let me be plain and say I think you’re tying yourselves in knots unnecessarily. The concept of “abuse” should be decisive enough a test.)

4. Do you agree that the proposed “double reasonableness” test operates as intended to counteract only artificial and abusive schemes (such as those described in Annex B)?

Yes. (And, incidentally, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a similar test introduced into – say – matters like removing disability benefits from people. So the government would only stop paying mobility allowances to someone with a missing limb if they could show it was reasonable to believe that it was reasonable for the person to do without it!)

5. Do you agree that the counteraction provision in the draft GAAR is appropriate?

Yes. I assume if HMRC had sufficient grounds to penalise avoiders they would take action under that appropriate provision and the GAAR would not come into effect at all – that it’s “belt and braces” – the GAAR will be the braces, but the belt will be tried first.

6. The Government is continuing to develop its analysis regarding the appeals processes in relation to counteraction and consequential adjustments under the GAAR, and welcomes views which may inform detailed proposals to be published later in the year.

No comment

7. The Government would welcome views on the options set out regarding commencement, how transitional arrangements should be dealt with, and whether there should be different rules for different taxes where appropriate.

Good grief, we’re talking about ABUSIVE arrangements here! It should apply from the date it’s announced – preferably 1 October 2012 – and to any transaction completed after that date, just as it would if you were introducing retrospective legislation to close an obvious tax loophole. No, there’s no need for transitional arrangements – send the message, tax abuse stops today.

8. The Government welcomes views on clause 5(1) of the Draft GAAR.

No comment

9. Do you agree that it is appropriate for particular weight to be given in the legislation to the GAAR guidance and the opinion(s) of the Advisory Panel on the arrangements?

Not unless the makeup of the Advisory Panel is radically changed! At the moment it reminds me of that line in 1066 and all that, about the barons wanting to be tried by “a jury of their peers, who would understand”! At present the panel seems to consist purely of legal tax professionals. It needs to have some members who are there to represent the law-abiding taxpayer such as union or other civil society group representatives; there to represent the interests of the non-avoiding taxpayer base.

10.The Government welcomes comments on whether particular issues arise in relation to Self Assessment (where the relevant taxes operate within a Self Assessment regime) or within the existing administrative rules for those taxes that do not operate within a Self Assessment regime.

11.The Government invites comments on the general proposal that the GAAR should as far as possible operate within existing administration rules for the taxes involved; and on what adaptations may be necessary to existing administrative rules to ensure that the GAAR operates with as little as possible additional administration cost and burden for taxpayers, advisers and HMRC. Is there a case for having a new type of assessment given the cross-regime range of the GAAR?

No comment

12.The Government invites comments on whether time limits should be set for each of stages two, three and four and if so what those time limits should be.

Yes: probably one to three months. The work needs to be resourced to risk, so HMRC will need to allocate appropriate resource to push these cases forward. And the tax avoider will have little or no incentive to cooperate if there isn’t also a time limit for them to respond or lose the case by default.

13.The Government welcomes comments on the proposals relating to the Advisory Panel.

See answer 9. The Advisory Panel needs to have lay members.

14.The Government would welcome views on the proposals for producing and updating the guidance.

The government already has rules in place around guidance – that it should be ready when legislation is published, that it should be compiled in collaboration with the affected taxpayers, that it should be in plain English – if it follows its own rules it won’t need to make more!

15.HMRC would welcome comments or evidence that can improve the TIA assessment of impacts, costs and yield of the GAAR proposals.

The Exchequer Impact does not follow the internal guidance to give the order of magnitude of the problem. What amounts are expected to be raised and/or saved as a result of the introduction of the GAAR? Without that information, it’s hard to see whether the GAAR will amount to a hill of beans.