Designing a General Anti-Avoidance Rule for the East African Community – A Comparative Analysis

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional integration project working towards the formation of a political federation. As a grouping of developing states, most EAC Partner States have legislated their own general anti-avoidance rules (GAARs) as a means to prevent base erosion and profit shifting. This article argues that the EAC federation, once formed, should continue this practice and legislate its own GAAR to protect its corporate tax base – one of the most important tax bases for African countries. This article further proposes a GAAR for the EAC that builds on the existing GAARs in the EAC Partner States and draws from international best practice through a comparative analysis of the GAARs in the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive, the Income Tax Act in Canada and the Income Tax Act in South Africa. In so doing, the author proposes a GAAR for the EAC that is in keeping with international developments while adapting such developments to the EAC context.