A7.410 What is the GAAR?

General anti-abuse rule (UK GAAR)

A7.410 What is the GAAR?

The GAAR (general anti-abuse rule) is the rule of law or judicial doctrine of general application, which contains general anti-avoidance principles which can be applied by the courts. Note that the Scotland and Wales have there own version of the GAAR in respect of devolved taxes, see A1.535 and A1.543.

The GAAR applies with effect from 17 July 2013 and it is intended to counteract tax advantages that would, ignoring the GAAR, arise from abusive tax arrangements (see A7.411 for more on the scope and application of the GAAR).

The counteraction of tax advantages, is effected by making adjustments on a just and reasonable basis. The adjustments can be made though an assessment or by amending of a claim.

The GAAR takes priority over any other part of tax legislation and forms part of the UK's anti-avoidance framework which includes1:


    •     targeted anti avoidance rules that apply to particular tax provisions (for examples see D2.254, and D1.1124A)


    •     case law dealing with anti avoidance (for examples see A7.403 and I2.211 for the Ramsay principle)


    •     rules regarding DOTAS (disclosure of tax avoidance schemes, see A7.201)

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