Tax reform calls backed


A leading tax accountant is backing calls to use the new single annual Budget as a springboard for wider tax policy reform.

A joint report by the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Government claims the current tax making policy process is not fit for purpose.

It urges the Government to change the way it makes tax and budget decisions in order to reduce taxpayer confusion, cut down on costly errors and avoid embarrassing u-turns.

Called Better Budgets, the report’s recommendations include:

  • Publishing clear guiding principles and priorities for tax policy.
  • Improving consultation, in particular ensuring that consultations happen before key decisions have been made.
  • Using external public reviews of aspects of the tax system as a means of opening up public debate.

John Endacott, partner and head of tax at chartered accountant and business adviser, PKF Francis Clark, described the joint report as a “welcome dose of common sense”.

He said: “I hope this year’s Budget, on Wednesday March 8, will see a return to shorter, sharper budgets and a move away from headline-generating gimmicks.

“Moving to a single annual fiscal event provides a real opportunity to get off the treadmill of constant change.

“Hopefully we will see a reduction in the strain on the Government’s tax policy while freeing up time for better consultation and scrutiny of any proposals put forward.”

Endacott, a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation Council, said the volume of legislation that followed the previous bi-annual budget statements was out of all proportion to the value such changes brought.

“In the past I have expressed the hope that the Chancellor would stop meddling with the tax system and take a more long-term view. I know others share my views so I’m pleased that, at last, our calls are being heard and, hopefully, acted upon,” he added.