David Blackburn

Osborne keeps it simple

Osborne keeps it simple
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George Osborne has talked of simplifying the tax system for years, and today he launched the OTS, The Office for Tax Simplification. The OTS will be chaired by Michael Jack, s Treasury minister in the Major government, and John Whiting of PWC and Chartered Institute of Taxation.

The OTS looks suspiciously like a quango, but some public bodies are necessary and welcome. The tax system is unintelligible, and, needless to say, Gordon Brown complicated it further with morass of stealth taxes, tax credits and new loopholes opened more by chance than design. This has particularly affected small businesses and the OTS will identify salient businesses taxes and recommend their simplification. That can only assist hard-pressed small businesses.

Not that the OTS is all sweetness and love. Penny-pinching Chancellors give with hand and take with the other: Osborneā€™s thinking is that a simpler tax system will yield more revenue. To that end, the OTS is examining tax relief, allowances and exemption with a view to standardisation and repeal where necessary.