The head of the Office of Tax Simplification has this week spoken about the body’s continued efforts to simplify the UK tax system, a task they started back in 2010. The head of the group, John Whiting, described the ongoing challenges for the OTS as they head into their third year.
Much of the work of the OTS in their first two years involved their review of small business taxation, where they sought to iron out areas of the tax system which were causing the most problems for SMEs. Whilst they succeeded in removing or simplifying some of the many existing reliefs and exemptions, Mr Whiting spoke of the difficulties of improving the tax system.
He said; “I do not believe we will ever get to a completely simple tax system. ‘Simpler’ tax is what I would want to get to.” He said that making the system simpler would help small businesses to know what they are doing without the additional costs of tax advice from an accountant.
The OTS, who carried out an IR35 review before the task led to the formation of the IR35 forum, are now focusing on creating a shortlist of items for which they will then produce detailed proposals. Going into their third year of action they are looking at areas such as employee expenses and benefits.
Mr Whiting described how the OTS have been all around the country talking to thousands of businesses and people in order to find out firsthand what their difficulties are with the tax system. He said that the group will continue to work whilst they believe the role they are undertaking is necessary, but admitted that “it is highly unlikely that we will have solved everything.”
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