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Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
In news that should not really come as too much of a surprise to those of us on the receiving end of our tax system, the UK's tax system is viewed as less fair and less transparent than other tax regimes around the world.
That is the finding of an international study of finance professionals conducted by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).
"Perspectives on Fair Tax" surveyed ACCA members in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and the US, gauging opinions on tax fairness, complexity, transparency, and how well tax authorities communicate with their citizens.
Professor Francis Chittenden, ACCA Professor of Small Business Finance at Manchester Business School, who wrote the report with colleague Hilary Foster, said that:
"The message from our research is for governments to reduce the volume of laws, directives and regulations that contributes most to complexity.
There is a fundamental issue for governments around the world to decide the purpose and structure of tax systems, and importantly to communicate the rationale behind these decisions."
A very good point, the trouble is the current government in the UK and its Prime Minister has an obsession with complexity and regulations.
Respondents from the UK rated the UK tax system as the least transparent, and said that there were too many taxes in the UK which added to tax complexity.
Specific concerns raised included:
-The increasing role of employers acting as tax collecting agents for government
-Retrospective changes to the tax system
-"Stealth taxes" – such as the failure to index link thresholds and allowances
-The assumption of additional powers by HM Revenue & Customs
Respondents in the UK also said that a lack of clarity, increasing complexity and a seemingly aggressive stance by HM Revenue & Customs were breaking an already fragile trust.
Trust, as the report notes, is crucial for a tax system to work in any country. Governments should create a system that treats them with respect.
The current government in the UK and its Prime Minister has an obsession with complexity and regulations, and do not treat the citizens with respect.
Tax does have to be taxing.
The New Statesman, Britain's leading political magazine is delighted to announce that HMRC Is Shite has been nominated for a New Media Award in the category of Campaign For Change. The campaign for change award will go to the individual or organisation that has most effectively influenced opinions and behaviour through the use of new media technology. The winner of this award will champion a cause and provide information and tools to instigate change.
The full press release can be downloaded here.
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