The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has welcomed today’s launch of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS). The Government have appointed John Whiting – CIOT Tax Policy Director – as Tax Director of the OTS. He is being released by the CIOT to perform the role on a one day a week basis, in addition to his existing post at the CIOT.
Vincent Oratore, President of the CIOT, said:
“I strongly welcome the setting up of the Office of Tax Simplification. This new body could play a crucial role in making our tax system simpler, more certain and more transparent.
“The CIOT has long called for simplification of the UK’s tax rules1, and argued that a new body needs to be set up to review our existing stock of tax laws and their effectiveness. We are delighted that the Government has listened to these calls in setting up the OTS.
“I am particularly pleased that the first Tax Director of the OTS will be John Whiting. John has a record second to none in explaining our labyrinthine tax system in an understandable way, and in working up the sorts of reforms that the system needs. I hope he will be given the resources he needs to make a real difference.
“Simpler tax laws would mean an easing of the administrative burden on business, individual taxpayers – especially the unrepresented – and tax collectors. 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.
“Simpler, more effective tax laws are in the interests of all concerned – taxpayers, their advisers and the authorities.
“While the OTS is welcome, 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 to Editors
- The CIOT has pressed for a number of years for a Tax Law Commission charged with the review, modernisation and simplification of tax law in the UK. Details of this proposal can be found most recently in the appendix of ‘The Making of Tax Law’, published by the CIOT in June 2010 and available online 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 Making of Tax Law’ (see link in note 1). A similar proposal was also made by a Conservative working party under Lord Howe in July 2008.