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The Office of Tax Simplification is a new Government department, which aims to reduce complexity in the tax system and provide predictability, stability and simplicity in the tax system.

John Whiting, the tax director of the new office and tax policy director of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) said “In our complex world a truly simple tax system for all is probably impossible, but working towards a simpler system will help all who deal with it.”

According to official statements the office will review a list of all reliefs, allowances and exemptions, applying to both businesses and individuals that are currently administered by H M Revenue & Customs.  They will make recommendations on how to simplify the tax system, ease administration and reduce uncertainty for small businesses.

The office will examine evidence and identify 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.

The CIOT has pointed out that the way in which tax law is made in the UK is what needs to be looked at: most complexity is not deliberate but is due to perceived avoidance and rushed and unexamined legislation.  In the past when one administrative burden has been cut back, another one springs up in its place.

It is hoped that entrepreneurship will be encouraged by this simpler system including the review of the IR35 legislation, allowing more small businesses to flourish after the difficult years of economic downturn.

The Office has been given until Budget 2011 to start making suggestions.

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