OBE for former lawyer who caught tax cheats

A former lawyer who acted as an enforcer catching offshore tax cheats has been named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Patrick Mears, pictured, 60, from Herne Hill, was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE).

He received the award for services to Preventing Abusive Tax Avoidance. He is the founding chairman of the five-year-old General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) Advisory Panel, which rules on investigations into tax abuse.

Mr Mears, a father-of-two who has lived in the area for 30 years, said: “I am proud to have been honoured for services to preventing abusive tax avoidance.

“The GAAR legislation was introduced to help change abusive tax avoidance by promoters, individuals and companies and to give HMRC the power to counteract hoped-for tax advantages flowing from abusive planning.

“The panel provides an important safeguard. HMRC cannot use its counteraction powers without first referring the case to the panel for an opinion on the reasonableness of the taxpayer’s actions. Since July 2017 we have issued 16 panel opinions.

“I and my fellow panel members, all of whom are or have been tax practitioners, are committed to bringing our private sector skills and experience to this unpaid public service.”

Mr Mears had been a solicitor for 30 years with international law firm Allen & Overy LLP where he specialised in corporate tax.

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