Tax Avoidance, the Rule of Law and the New Zealand Supreme Court

24 Pages Posted: 21 May 2014

See all articles by Michael Littlewood

Michael Littlewood

University of Auckland - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December 15, 2010

Abstract

This paper examines the approach that the New Zealand Supreme Court, which was established in 2004, has taken to the problem of tax avoidance. In particular, it examines Ben Nevis Ltd v Commissioner of Inland Revenue (which concerned the General Anti-Avoidance Rule – or GAAR – contained in the Income Tax Act) and Glenharrow Ltd v Commissioner of Inland Revenue (which concerned the GAAR contained in the Goods and Services Tax Act). These cases lend weight to the theory that the idea of tax avoidance is not susceptible to coherent explication and that rules against it are therefore inescapably problematic – to the extent, even, that they constitute a departure from the rule of law. The cases also suggest, however, that having a GAAR is nonetheless better than not having one. It seems clear, too, that the Supreme Court has already, in these two cases, both clarified the law and taken a tougher line against tax avoidance than did the Privy Council.

Suggested Citation

Littlewood, Michael, Tax Avoidance, the Rule of Law and the New Zealand Supreme Court (December 15, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1726165 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1726165

Michael Littlewood (Contact Author)

University of Auckland - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag 92019
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland, 1142
New Zealand

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