Brown’s tax shame

Gordon Brown has revealed what could be his most damaging failing as far as tax simplification campaigners are concerned; he needs an accountant to help him fill in his own tax return, write our parliamentary staff.

The confession – in an election phone-in programme – came after an accountant from Chelmsford complained many ordinary taxpayers ‘find it virtually impossible to fill in a return’.

Accountant Daron Gunson said the return is so complicated it covers 16 pages and requires 64 pages of explanatory notes. He asked: ‘Do you manage to fill in your own tax return and if Labour get elected do you plan to do anything to simplify the tax system?’

Brown highlighted the role of a Tax Simplification Committee and pointed to other measures undertaken by the government.

But he had to be pressed to answer the question: ‘Who does your tax return?’

He finally responded: ‘I actually fill it in, but I do get help. It takes me not as long as it takes the accountant who helps me.’

Gunson complained the tax law rewrite had been going on for five years with ‘very little progress to date’ and called for it to be given more resources.

The Conservative Party this week sought to exploit Labour discomfort over the complexity of the tax systems by saying it would announce a range of measures to simplify it. They were unveiled in its business manifesto.

In particular it put forward a major simplification of VAT.

For more on tax simplification see

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