Tax simplification team must address avoidance “paranoia”

TAX EXPERTS have said the amount of funds HM Revenue & Customs collects can be boosted by changing areas of the tax code which have become distorted by a “paranoia” about avoidance.

Advisers from law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner made the statement alongside a submission to the Office of Tax Simplification, the panel entrusted with stripping the complexity out of the UK’s fiscal regime.

The rules around controlled foreign companies, real estate investment trusts and stamp duty have become too “complex, contradictory, and fail to encourage investment into the UK,” BLP said.

Michael Wistow, BLP’s head of tax, said:

“Our tax system is out of balance because of an obsession with avoidance to the detriment of reliefs which could have stimulated growth.

“Continuing to focus a disproportionate amount of time on avoidance will stifle growth and deter investment. T

“This will ultimately cost the exchequer more than closing the tax gap will ever save.”

“The Office of Tax Simplification has the opportunity of a lifetime to be bold and take on the challenge of completely overhauling the parts of our tax system which are fundamentally broken.”

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