Renewed calls for tax simplification

‘No government has show any appetite for tax simplification,’ Cox told the British Chambers of Commerce annual national conference in London today.

He said the system was being allowed to grow unchecked and accused chancellor Gordon Brown of aggravating the situation with ‘tweaks for fiscal or political reasons’.

Instead of simplification, he said an extended use of the system had recently developed which embraced welfare benefits more widely, with the Inland Revenue now monitoring the minimum wage; reclaiming student loans and paying the Working Families Tax Credits.

This, alongside ‘pressure groups lobbying continuously for special treatment and tax advisers spotting and exploiting loopholes,’ is causing a complex expansion of the tax regime said Cox.

While the philosophy behind expanding tax system to cover welfare benefits may be viewed as commendable, Cox suggests that the ‘administrative hassle is another matter’.

Cox joins the ICAEW tax faculty and prominent peers in calling for tax simplification.

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