Commentary

A7.414 GAAR—Counteraction of equivalent arrangements

Administration and compliance

A7.414 GAAR—Counteraction of equivalent arrangements

A7.414 GAAR—Counteraction of equivalent arrangements

'Equivalent arrangements' by other users can be subject to counteraction with effect from 15 September 2016, but in relation to tax arrangements entered into at any time.1. This also applies to National Insurance contributions2.

Arrangements are equivalent if they are substantially the same as one another, having regard to their results, the means of achieving those results, and the characteristics on the basis of which it could reasonably be argued in each case that the arrangements are abusive arrangements under which a tax advantage has arisen3. The definition of 'equivalent arrangements' applies not just for pooling purposes but also to binding and generic referrals4.

Pooling notices

Other tax arrangements which depend on the structure of the lead arrangements are tied to them through the issue of a pooling notice. If the GAAR panel rule that the lead arrangements are abusive, HMRC can then counteract any arrangements which were pooled with them. This enables HMRC to take effective counteraction measures without having to refer every scheme which differs slightly to the GAAR panel.

HMRC may issue a pooling notice where HMRC:

  1.  

    •     has issued a notice of proposed counteraction to a person in respect of any arrangements (termed 'lead arrangements')5, and

  2.  

    •     the 45-day period allowed for that person's response has expired, and

  3.  

    •     no final counteraction notice has been issued (see A7.413)6, and

  4.  

    •     HMRC are of the opinion that a tax advantage has arisen to another person from abusive tax arrangements that are equivalent to the

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