Howe unveils tax overhaul plans at ICAEW

Tory plans to remove the dead wood from the UK tax system have been unveiled
at the ICAEW headquarters by Lord Howe.

In front of an audience made up of the profession’s leading tax figures, the
former chancellor of the exchequer set out his stall on how a Tory government
would make the UK’s tax framework simpler.

Flanked by Shadow Chancellor George Osborne and ICAEW chief executive Michael
Izza, Lord Howe panned the complexity of current tax system in his Making Taxes
Simpler report.

Howe has been a central figure in Tory tax reform efforts for a number of
years, and blamed the density of the ‘horrendous’ tax system for the length of
time it has taken to carve out a plan.

Under Howe’s proposals an Office of Tax Simplification would be set up to
examine the existing tax code and make proposals.

A cross party committee would scrutinse government initiatives and proposals
and any changes to tax law would be flagged up to the public no later than the
pre Budget report

Howe branded the Red Book used to explain the Budget changes as a ‘huge
monster’, compared to the guidelines in his day. He also warned that any
improvements would not be immediate because efforts to unravel the complex
system would stretch out.

‘It’s going to be a very long haul,’ he added.

George Osborne wieghed into the argument in criticising the ‘The history and
this complex and unwieldy piece of legislation provides a perfect lesson in how
not to make tax policy.’

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