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Office for Tax Simplification launched with two initial reviews

By Jonathan Isaby

George Osborne Treasury press conf This morning has seen the formal launch at the Treasury of the Office for Tax Simplification, which will be led by former MP, Michael Jack, and John Whiting, the first Tax Policy Director of the Chartered Institute of Taxation.

The OTS's formal remit is "to provide independent advice to the Chancellor on simplifying the UK tax system, with the objective of reducing compliance burdens on both businesses and individual taxpayers".

Anything that intends simplifying the tax system must surely be welcomed, with Chancellor George Osborne saying this morning:

“The previous Government took a complex tax system and made it even worse. A decade of meddling and intervening has made the tax affairs of millions of families and businesses across the UK extremely complicated. We need to sort out this mess.

"Two years ago I promised to create the Office of Tax Simplification. Today, we’re delivering on that promise. With its independent, expert advice it will be a permanent force for a simpler tax system.

“Simpler, more competitive taxes will help us show the world that Britain is open for business.”

At is launch, to initial reviews were announced:

Tax reliefs
Review a list of all reliefs, allowances and exemptions, applying to both businesses and individuals, within the taxes and duties administered by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and identifying those reliefs that should be repealed or simplified to support the Government’s objective for a simpler tax system.

Small Businesses
Make recommendations on how to simplify the tax system, ease administration and reduce uncertainty for small businesses. examining evidence and identifying the areas of the tax system that cause the most day-to-day complexity and uncertainty for small businesses; recommending priority areas for simplification; and considering the impact of any simplification in these areas on different business sectors, including large business.

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