Yesterday I wrote the following:
"This presents a golden opportunity for the government to radically simplify the tax system, thus making it easier for taxpayers and HMRC to 'administer' taxes and reduce the associated costs.
However, politicians by their very nature abhor 'simplification' as it makes them 'redundant' in the eyes of the voters."
Well, blinkey blonky blimey, as if by magic the government have announced today that they will set up an Orifice (or is it "Office"?) For Tax Simplification.
The chairman of the new body will be former Conservative MP and Treasury minister Michael Jack. Its director will be John Whiting, formerly of PricewaterhouseCoopers, who is tax director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation. Neither will be paid.
Treasury minister David Gauke is quoted by the BBC:
"The tax system created by the previous government was overly complex and has made the tax affairs of millions of families and businesses across the UK extremely complicated.
We need to reduce the complexities in our tax system and the coalition is committed to delivering that goal.
The Office for Tax Simplification will provide important advice that will help inform us in making the right reforms to the tax system that will help to pave the way to bringing more international business to the UK, which will give our economy the boost it so urgently needs in the years ahead."
Currently the UK has an 11,000 page tax code, aptly described by the Chancellor as a "spaghetti bowl"
The BBC reports that the Chancellor says:
"Britain has one of the most complex and opaque tax codes in the world.
And he wanted a "permanent body to push against the forces of complication" and make life easier for firms.
Announcing the new body, Mr Osborne said his "dream" was "that people might actually understand the tax laws which with they actually being asked to comply with".
The new body will initially conduct two reviews - streamlining 400 tax reliefs, allowances and exemptions and simplifying the tax system for small businesses, including a simpler alternative to the controversial IR35 code.
It will advise ministers where the tax system is too complex but it will not look at tax credits, which Mr Osborne said he considered part of the benefits system."
Not tax credits?
Aren't they one of the complicating factors?
If they are part of the "benefits" system, why do they fall under HMRC's remit?
So, loyal readers, are we to look forward to a massive simplification of our tax system?
Could it be that I was wrong, when I said that politicians "abhor simplification"?
Could it be that politicians really do want to make things simpler?
Let's see shall we?
I won't be eating crow just yet!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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