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Unlike the vast majority of the specific provisions contained in the Income Tax Act, Parliament has left the general anti-avoidance provision deliberately general, where the Supreme Court in the leading case on tax avoidance (Ben Nevis) stated that the courts should not strive to create greater certainty than Parliament has chosen to provide.

That means that it is often a process of drawing a line in order to distinguish between a permissible tax advantage that has been contemplated by Parliament and one which falls foul of the legislature.

The presenters provide insights into answering the Supreme Court’s ultimate question – whether the impugned arrangement, viewed in a commercially and economically realistic way, makes use of the specific provision in a manner that is consistent with Parliament’s purpose. This involves an examination of both an arrangement’s legal form and its economic and commercial substance.

Learning outcomes

  • Develop a greater understanding about the legal context, including the general anti-avoidance provision, key case law and the disputes process.
  • Gain insights into what is taken into account in determining on which side of the line an arrangement falls.
  • Receive guidance on how to determine whether an arrangement (which can include common transactions) is consistent with, or falls foul of, the legislative purpose.

Who should view?

Commercial lawyers and general practitioners.

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