4 September 2003
A survey of 75 MPs by The Chartered Institute of Taxation, CIOT, found that 80% had read virtually none of the new tax legislation in this year’s Finance Act. Nevertheless, it was voted through by the House of Commons, and it affects every one of us.
Contact: Tim Ambrose, CIOT President, Tel: 01224 253238
Press Office: Viv Rees, Head of Communications,
Tel: 020 7235 9381; Mobile: 07900 220 887
One of the questions the CIOT asked the MPs in the survey was what was the most interesting part of the Finance Act to them. A few responses are listed below:
- “Interesting – are you joking?”
- “None of it could be described as interesting”
- “Interesting is not a word I would use”
- “I would only scrutinise those parts of the Bill brought to my attention by a constituent”
- “It is critical that the tax system be simplified. It would not be difficult to do. Complexity is the sign of a tiny mind.”
Tim Ambrose, CIOT President, commented:
“The findings are disappointing, but it is not really surprising that so few MPs appear to have any interest in, or understanding of, the changes that were made this year despite their range and complexity.
“Without vigorous action from more MPs there is no effective mechanism to stop our tax laws increasing further in length and complexity.
“This year the entire process was made even more rushed and superficial than ever before by a combination of a late Budget, guillotined debates and pressure to speed the Act through Parliament.”
The survey also found that MPs continue to have problems completing their self–assessment return with 60% saying that they found it difficult and time consuming.
Tim Ambrose said:
“Frankly it’s surprising to me that 40% of MPs apparently find it easy and quick to complete their tax return. What’s their secret?
“In our experience most people struggle to complete their tax return and we still believe that there is great scope for improving the form, simplifying the computations and pressing ahead with a shortened form for many tax payers."
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