Wednesday, December 8, 2010

There are two types of tax consultation...

It was pointed out to me recently that there are only two types of tax consultation...

One - "We're doing it regardless"
That is, where HMRC, the Treasury or the Chancellor have every intention of introducing new legislation. In recent years (indeed for at least 13 years!) there were plenty of examples of where the consultation process was almost a farce. Certainly it typically wasted a lot of time given the legislation that was subsequently published with undue haste before responses to the consultation could have been properly considered. Almost as if the outcome was a forgone conclusion....

Two - "We don't really want to do this"
This is where there is no real desire for change but there is a political rationale for exploring how best to introduce a change. The tax law equivalent of kicking a ball into the long grass.
It has been put to me that the Coalition Government's proposed study into the possibility of drafting a GAAR falls into this category.

Such a view of course will be familiar to fans of Yes Minister. And it may be telling that the person who shared this view is an ex civil servant.

It would be nice to think that the new approach to tax policy making we were promised in June will involve a third type of tax consultation. The genuine one. Undertaken with no pre-determined preferred outcome. Or maybe that's just naive. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Three
    The third type of consultation is; 'Please check this draft legislation/ guidance, as we haven't got the expertise/time to do it properly ourselves.'
    The Govt use the professional bodies as unpaid technical checkers.