MPs STILL DON’T DO THEIR OWN TAX RETURNS
Press Release - 30 August 2001 Contacts:
John Whiting, President
Tel: 020 7804 4422; mobile: 07710 027 595
Viv Rees: Tel: 020 7235 9381
A survey shows that 82% of MPs do not do their own Self Assessment tax returns for the principal reason that they are too complicated. The result comes from a survey conducted by The Chartered Institute of Taxation.
John Whiting, President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said:
“It is not surprising that many MPs, like many in the general population, say they try and fail to do their own tax return. The 29 pages and 438 boxes on this year’s comprehensive tax calculation guide are enough to increase stress and anxiety levels for anyone. A good number of the MPs said that with a simpler system they would “go on” and do their own returns.
“There clearly is a problem of spiralling complexity in the tax system. Legislators and administrators have a duty to do something about it. An over-complex tax system is causing confusion that leads to higher compliance costs, mistakes and difficulties for everyone.
“MPs have welcomed our suggestions for tax simplification with comments like ‘All power to your arm’. We are hoping that these MPs and others will actively support us in encouraging the Government to take active steps to make the tax system simpler. “
MPs were sent a short questionnaire asking them if they completed their own tax return, together with personal tax simplification suggestions from the Institute’s “Quick Wins” campaign. These relate to issues such as pensions, capital gains tax and the streamlining of the treatment of benefits and tax rates. The Institute will in the autumn be publishing Quick Wins suggestions on how the tax system can be simplified focused on helping large and smaller businesses.
John Whiting continued:
“The Inland Revenue and the other tax authorities say that they too see the need for tax simplification so why is there so little action? We need to take our tax system into the 21st century and make inroads into the ever increasing administrative burdens that the system imposes on everyone.”
The Institute is also investigating whether other professional and business bodies would be interested in forming an overview body, which for the moment is called the Tax Practice Committee. This body would collectively work to improve the implementation of tax legislation in both technical and procedural/administrative areas.
John Whiting said:
“It is too early to say if the Tax Practice Committee will be formed. However, initial reactions have encouraged me and I hope that it will be possible to gather together everyone’s thinking into a formal consultation document by the end of September. If we are all saying the same thing then surely it makes sense to work together.”
NOTE FOR EDITORS:
The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), the leading professional body in the United Kingdom concerned solely with taxation, was established in 1930 and received its Royal Charter in 1994. The CIOT’s primary purpose is to promote education in and the study of the administration and practice of taxation. Members of the CIOT have the practising title of “Chartered Tax Adviser”.
One of the CIOT’s key aims is to achieve a better, more efficient, tax system for all affected by it - taxpayers, advisers and the authorities. The CIOT will frame its comments and recommendations on tax issues solely in order to achieve its aims: it is entirely apolitical in its work.
Membership of the CIOT is open to individuals from all disciplines who are competent and qualified to advise on taxation matters. Entrance is through its associateship examination, from which members may advance to fellowship by thesis. An increasing number of members hold the CIOT qualification as their main professional qualification.
The CIOT deals with all aspects of direct and indirect taxation. It is the United Kingdom member of the Confédération Fiscale Européenne (CFE), the umbrella body for taxation advisers in Europe. The CFE represents a total of over 150,000 tax advisers throughout the European Union and its neighbouring countries. It plays a full part in the development and operation of tax legislation in the Union and supports the establishment and maintenance of the rights of tax advisers within the Union.
In 1989 the CIOT sponsored the formation of The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT). The ATT, with which the Institute maintains a close relationship, provides the qualification “Taxation Technician”. Its examination also acts as a stepping stone towards membership of the Institute.
The CIOT and ATT are registered charities.
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