The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has welcomed today’s publication of a review of tax reliefs1 by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS).
CIOT President Vincent Oratore said:
“This is a good start from the OTS. They have produced a solid piece of work. If the Chancellor takes up these recommendations, this will be a first step on the road to a simpler tax system.
“The OTS deserves credit for tackling difficult issues in the report. Nearly all tax reliefs benefit somebody and they will usually not want to see them disappear. However, as the report points out, the cost of them is borne by all other taxpayers and simpler, more effective tax laws are in the overall public interest.
“Simpler tax laws would mean an easing of the administrative burden on business, individual taxpayers – especially the unrepresented – and HMRC. They would make the tax system more transparent and more comprehensible, and therefore more likely to command public and business confidence. They would also mean fewer loopholes and distortions, leading to fewer unintended consequences and fewer opportunities for tax avoidance.
“While the OTS is carrying out excellent work, there is also a pressing need for improvements in the parliamentary process for scrutinising new and existing tax laws. The CIOT will be continuing to press for improvements in this area, including the setting up of a Joint Committee on Taxation2.”
Notes for editors
- The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has carried out a review into all tax reliefs, allowances and exemptions, across all the taxes administered by HMRC. The recommendations have been submitted to the Chancellor ahead of Budget 2011. The review can be read here
In June 2010 the CIOT launched its proposal for a new Joint Committee on Taxation, bringing together MPs and peers to form a new body to provide improved scrutiny of tax legislation. Further details of this proposal can be found in chapter six of the CIOT paper ‘The Making of Tax Law’. A similar proposal was also made by a Conservative working party under Lord Howe in July 2008.