Newswatch: Call for separate tax Budget

Tax technicalities need to be split from the political theatre of the chancellor’s Budget day announcement if it is to play a useful role, tax experts have warned.

Less than a week before this year’s announcement – it falls next Tuesday – partners from the Big Five and Group A firms voiced their support for the Budget process, but said the case for a technical tax changes bill was clear.

‘To me, the Budget is more of a political event and I would like to see the technical side taken away. However, there is still great excitement when the announcement is made,’ says Arthur Andersen tax partner Bill Dodwell.

The profession has called for technical procedures to be separated from the more politically-charged income tax issues.

But Ian Barlow, KPMG head of tax, says the idea was ‘wishful thinking’.

‘It is far too tempting a platform for a chancellor. They regard themselves as the second most important person in the government and the Budget is their time to be in the spotlight,’ he said.

Decoupling technical changes would allow more time for professionals to get to grips with the demands before the new tax year at the beginning of April.

Additionally, a return to a November announcement would allow time for a considered opinion of taxes. Although less dramatic, the move would please MPs who could take representation from experts on the implications. Allan Beardsworth is a partner in Deloitte & Touche, Leeds

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