One of the benefits of being a boutique Canadian tax law firm is being able to have a very different Reception Area. One corner is occupied by GAAR-field, our tax office’s reptile. The other well-known Garfield, of course, is the orange, smart-aleck cartoon cat who loves to fall face-first into every lasagna he meets.
Our GAAR-field is a 5-year-old male Bearded Dragon. His name is an “inside tax joke” and refers to the General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR)
of Canada’s Income Tax Act.
The General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) was added to Canada’s Income Tax Act in 1988. Its purpose is to be an all-encompassing rule that prevents abusive tax avoidance transactions while not interfering with legitimate commercial and family transactions. The GAAR was intended to strike a balance between taxpayers' need for certainty in planning their affairs and the government's responsibility to protect the tax base and the fairness of the tax system.
So, what types of things does GAAR-field “avoid”: office work, government bureaucracy, family obligations, crafts and hobbies, computers, laundry, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, and all other household chores. That leaves: eating, basking under his heat lamp, and sleep, including frequent naps. GAAR-field is on permanent vacation!
And you didn’t think that our Canadian tax lawyers have a sense of humour?
The habitat of the Bearded Dragon is the dry grasslands of Australia. Our GAAR-field comes from a breeder in the U.S. He also enjoys the occasional snuggles, warm baths, and literally “hanging out” with the office staff with the help of his very large claws. He believes that this is a fair deal in exchange for his company.
He eats a diet of super worms and different greens along with his calcium supplement. He’s very friendly and always a joy to watch. Say “hello” to GAAR-field.