Taxation – ICA slams tax bill complexity

Tax experts at the English ICA attacked the government this week for failing to produce a simplified finance bill.

The institute’s tax faculty criticised the bill for being complex and verbose and has recommended improvements for easier interpretation by individual taxpayers.

The faculty also highlighted problem areas in the new system of capital gains tax where indexation relief is being replaced by taper relief.

Robert Maas, chairman of the institute’s technical committee, said: ‘These changes have not been properly thought through. If the government had intended to devise a scheme to abolish indexation while keeping it on the statute books for as long as possible, it could not have come up with a more satisfactory solution.’

Further criticism was levelled at the retrospective taxation and ability of the Revenue to secretly impose future tax charges. Among the recommendations from the faculty was the appointment of an officer responsible for reviewing finance bills. Maas said it would have been better to make no changes rather than those contained in the bill. He added: ‘We recommend the implementation of the change is delayed for at least one year to allow for proper consultation.’

Derek Jenkins, a tax partner at Coopers & Lybrand, said: ‘It puts it beyond the reach of the individual taxpayer.’

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