As everybody in the country will know, I was on the GAAR interim panel which introduced the interim guidance which ended tax avoidance once and for all. Except it wasn’t once (I personally had ended it once prior to then) or for all (especially if you have never been resident or domiciled in the UK).
No, tax avoidance survived and rose from the grave whence I put it. At least twice.
I have always argued that people who know about tax should not be allowed on the GAAR panel for fear of using their knowledge of what tax legislation means to decide what it should mean. My preference is to have several trade union representatives who are directly opposed to any cuts whatsoever, and hence interested in maximising tax revenues, have a legally binding vote that would allow HMRC to impose whatever liability they feel like.
So it is with no great schadenfreude that I point out that tonight I point out that a member of the GAAR panel, David Heaton, (“HMRC’s David Heaton“, as the BBC call him) suggested ways for people to minimise their tax bills.
Much to the shock of all who attended, Mr Heaton gave useful tips on how individuals could mitigate their tax liabilities. I am appalled to think that he was giving actual tax planning advice at a tax planning conference, going as far as suggesting that people who might be eligible for maternity pay should actually claim it! The horror!
Worse still, he tried to display a bit of humour by referring to the Chancellor’s “grubby mitts”. Oh, the neoliberal horror!
People who work for the government should be austere (in manner and countenance; not monetarily, obviously) and humourless wherever practicable. And I think that the GAAR panel should work for the government who doesn’t actually pay them.
So this event proves the need for my GRAPIST. A tax adviser has referred to the hands of the Chancellor as “grubby” and therefore all tax professionals are immoral. Therefore, knowledge of tax legislation is corrupting. And therefore we need a GAAR panel made up of people who haven’t the first idea about tax or the law.
Quod erat demonstrandum.