Tax makes record books under Labour

A book containing the entirety of UK direct taxation for 2005-06 was
published this week, weighing in at a record-breaking 9,050 pages – almost twice
the size of the publication when Labour took office in 1997.

The Tories have seized upon the latest edition of Tolley’s Yellow Tax
as proof of the Byzantine complexity of the tax system under
Gordon Brown’s reign.

It took almost 200 years from the introduction of income tax for Britain’s
tax law to reach 4,555 pages, but in the eight years since Labour came to power
that figure has doubled.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne was quoted in The Times as saying:
‘When will Gordon Brown wake up and notice that overseas companies are
simplifying their tax laws to encourage, not burden, business?’

And a Treasury spokesman said of the handbook: ‘Simply counting the pages of
a handbook does not represent the Government’s tax reforms. In fact, the
Government takes tackling complexity very seriously and has a good record on
measures to simplify the tax system’.

The Government is gearing up to introduce a raft of new tax legislation to
tackle what it sees as unfair and abusive tax avoidance in the corporate world.

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