Lords criticise government’s tax strategy

THE GOVERNMENT’S tax strategy is “inconsistent and overly complex”, a House of Lords report on the Finance Bill has claimed.

The House of Lords economic affairs committee welcomed the government’s consultation on tax issues, but said it was inconsistently implemented, citing the oil and gas tax announced in the Budget.

It cited Frank Haskew, head of the ICAEW tax faculty, who said the disguised remuneration legislation – which was designed to tackle offshore trusts – was “the worst I have ever seen”. The Lords concluded that this problem was tackled too late and was “excessively long and complex”. They called on the government to consult earlier.

The Lords also called on ministers to “develop a strategy to tackle tax evasion” ensure that its corporation tax reforms “do not accidentally disadvantage particular groups, for example small and medium-sized businesses”.

Committee chair Lord MacGregor (pictured) said: “The government is on the right track with its commitment to a new approach to tax policymaking which sees it consulting widely about changes before putting them into practice.

“If the government sticks to its commitments, the UK will have a better tax system with better laws which are better scrutinised. But there are lessons to be learned from this introduction of the new system which the committee urges the government to follow.”


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