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OTS seeks feedback on tax simplification strategy

tax dictionary

SIMPLIFYING the tax system, giving a voice to taxpayer concerns and engaging with HMRC on making tax digital are just a few of the plans set out by the Office of Tax Simplification in its newly published strategy document.

Headed up by Angela Knight, the OTS has released the stakeholder consultation document in order to develop its role in simplifying the tax system.

Seeking your views

The 2016 Finance Bill placed the OTS on a permanent statutory basis, a move which was welcomed by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee in March, which praised the work of the OTS in its inquiry of the Draft Finance Bill .

The strategy consultation document sets out, and seeks views on, how it thinks “the OTS should develop and operate as we embark on this new chapter as a statutory body”.

The OTS’ strategy plans to tackle a number things in order to simplify the tax system, including to explain how new trends and changes in business and employment (such as the sharing economy) will impact tax; to consider how to make tax simpler following changes to how the OTS operates, take the issues and options of taxpayers for wide discussion and evidence gathering, and to “encourage simplification to be built into tax policy making and implementation early on in the process”.

The office has also confirmed that it will “engage closely with HMRC on its important digital agenda”, including the heavily debated ‘making tax digital’ platform, which has already prompted a number of concerns from accountants.

“A significant feature of our future work will also be to flag the often competing requirements of simplicity and fairness, highlighting potential gainers and losers, and to dispassionately present the key options, impacts and choices,” the strategy document reads.

Reinforcements

The OTS added that it would be bringing some new external independent non-executive directors onto its board, but did not name any individuals. They will sit alongside chair Angel Knight, tax director John Whiting and Teresa Graham, chair of the Administrative Burdens Advisory Board, as well as senior representatives from HM Treasury and HMRC.

The independent office is encouraging taxpayers to share their concerns with them at ots@ots.gsi.gov.uk. The office is also holding a stakeholder event on the strategy document on 18 July, about which they’ll be providing more details on in the next few weeks.

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