Monday, July 7, 2008

Making Taxes Simpler

Last week I attended the launch, at the ICAEW, of Geoffrey Howe's report and witnessed George Osborne's commitment to accept and adopt the principles set out therein.

He stated that 'the next Conservative Government will create an Office of Tax Simplification' (as proposed in the report). It will include HMRC and Treasury officials as well as members of the professions. Their remit will be to systematically examine the existing tax code and to make proposals for simplification.

Of course, in an ideal world, such a body would not be necessary but our tax code is now amongst the longest in the world. Each year far more is added than is removed. The Tax Law Rewrite project has simplified the language of the law but was forbidden from proposing changes to simplify the law itself.

I have noted elsewhere that this is all too late for me. Two years ago I gave up giving tax advice myself. I have explained my decision (which led to the creation of the Tax Advice Network) in an article that is in our T.A.N.K.

Maybe things would have been different had the OTS already existed. Somehow I doubt it. Whilst I welcome the commitment I anticipate that, even if it comes to fruition, it will take some years to have much impact.

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