General anti-avoidance rules: What are the key elements to a balanced approach?

Tax Controversy & Dispute Resolution ()

More and more countries, such as the UK and India, are considering the enactment of a General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR). A GAAR is typically a statutory rule that empowers a revenue authority to deny taxpayers the benefit of an arrangement that they have entered into for an impermissible tax-related purpose. This broad definition only scratches the surface -- there can be many permutations with respect to a GAAR's operating provisions. As a result, this recent movement for some countries to explore the enactment of a GAAR is generating a growing interest by stakeholders with respect to a GAAR's design and administration. Specifically, stakeholders want to know how existing GAARs operate, as well as how a GAAR could be designed and administered using a 'balanced approach,' i.e., one that yields an effective yet fair result while reducing upfront taxpayer uncertainty.