ICAS calls for an end to relentless tinkering with the tax system

By ICAS Editorial Team

12 March 2015

ICAS has challenged all political parties to stop the relentless tinkering and short term approach to changes in the UK's tax system.

Ahead of May's General Election, the world's oldest professional body of accountants, ICAS, has challenged all political parties to stop the relentless tinkering and short term approach to changes in the UK's tax system.

As part of the organisation's manifesto, Counting on Change, ICAS has called for the future government to take a long term view on taxation, instead of complex annual changes, in order to provide simplicity for individual taxpayers and businesses.

Amongst the ICAS proposals for future taxation, the organisation has called for the reconstitution of the Office of Tax Simplification and for policy-making roadmaps setting out the longer term vision for tax in the UK.

The manifesto document, which will be launched on 25 March at the ICAS General Election Breakfast Debate in London, sets out priority issues for the future government and includes calls for:

  • The reinstatement of the Office of Tax Simplification, with further investment in its resources and a cross party commitment to implementing its recommendations
  • Roadmaps for policy making – providing clear long term strategies for the tax system
  • The formulation of broader strategy for adoption across the taxes, including:
    • An approach to 'business tax' examining how to remove distortions in taxation between incorporated and unincorporated businesses
    • A personal tax roadmap addressing inconsistencies between employment and self-employment tax outcomes
  • Providing further support for partnerships in the tax system as a vital business vehicle.

Following the Autumn Statement, which included five separate announcements on VAT in the public sector, ICAS has also challenged parties to end the piecemeal approach to VAT management and recovery – and for the future government to provide support models for the efficient delivery of public services.

Elspeth Orcharton, ICAS Director of Tax, commented: "With tax so much in the public mind at present, it's time for politicians to offer clear commitments on how they would make tax simpler for everyone in the UK.

"Politicians need to make the hard choices – increase or reduce the tax rate burden if needed in the simplest way possible, but avoid new reliefs and taxes.

"The reason we have such a complex tax system is that political parties just after, then just before, a General Election make promises to voters. We may never change that but please keep the focus on easy and simple changes."


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