Taxation – ‘Scrap daft laws’ says tax body

The Inland Revenue’s tax-law rewrite is uncovering evidence of the ‘daftness’ of large parts of the UK’s tax legislation, according to the Chartered Institute of Taxation.

Responding to publication of the project’s annual report last week, Nigel Eastaway, chairman of CIoT’s technical committee, said although the project was worthwhile, it had highlighted many outdated concepts in UK tax law.

‘Writing it in plain English emphasises how daft it is,’ he said.

His comments follow a recent plea by institute chairman Keith Daniels for a fundamental simplification of tax law, rather than just a rewrite.

Speaking at a CIoT conference, Daniels said the tax system needed to be ‘fundamentally changed to make it more comprehensible to the ordinary taxpayer.’

Publication of the project’s annual report last week sparked criticism that the Revenue was glossing over major problems which had slowed down the Herculean revision. But Maurice Parry-Wingfield, consultant to the English ICA on the rewrite, said that the Revenue was now making speedy progress.

The project, which started in 1996, is currently rewriting three areas of taxation – trading income, savings and investment income and employment income. Capital allowance provisions have been rewritten already and will be appear as a Bill next year.

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