Title Image

Government must simplify taxes to tackle tax avoidance, says ICAS

Government must simplify taxes to tackle tax avoidance, says ICAS

ICAS, the world’s first professional body of Chartered Accountants, has called on the next government to “get serious” on simplifying the UK’s 20,000-plus pages of Tax Code. ICAS believes this would be one key step which could be taken to help reduce tax avoidance.

The call for action comes as ICAS launches its manifesto for the General Election at Westminster today (Wednesday), following an election debate involving leading politicians.

ICAS believes that last week’s 2015 Budget underlined how unwieldy our tax system has become, adding reliefs for orchestras and complex changes to personal tax for savers through the new Personal Savings Allowance.  There are now more than 1,000 tax reliefs and exemptions, forming a part of a Tax Code that is more than 20,000 pages long.

The professional body, which represents more than 20,000 Chartered Accountants operating across the UK and worldwide, believes that if the next government is to be serious about reducing tax avoidance they must play their part by radically simplifying the Tax Code.

The current government created the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) in June 2010. ICAS believes it has delivered excellent work and is calling on the next government to ensure it is continued and properly resourced.

Speaking from Westminster, Anton Colella, Chief Executive of ICAS, said:

“The time has now come for the next government to draw a line in the sand and get serious about simplifying Britain’s tax laws. Every political party is talking about tax avoidance, but one important element that lies in their hands is simplifying Britain’s Tax Code.

“This will bring much needed clarity to the grey areas of avoidance.

“The next government must stop tinkering by adding yet more reliefs and start tackling the complexity of it all.

“All governments talk about simplifying taxes. The problem is that none have tackled the issue head on. We believe the next government must put action ahead of words in the public interest.”

Mr Colella was speaking as ICAS launched its manifesto “Counting on Change” for the 2015 General Election at Westminster, which called for a range of measures to build a more sustainable economy for the future.

The document also calls for:

  • Wider availability of finance for SMEs.
  • A pensions system that will endure for the long term.
  • Better protection for consumers of Accountancy Services.

A full copy of the ICAS Manifesto can be seen at www.icas.org.uk/manifesto

ICAS is the world’s first professional body of Chartered Accountants, created in 1854. It has more than 20,000 members in 100 countries around the world, many working as Chief Financial Officers, Chief Executives and Chairs of the world’s largest companies.