MP’s call for Government to be clearer on its tax strategy

George Hay Chartered Accountants

According to a YouGov study[1] commissioned by two professional bodies, the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the ACCA, two out of three MP’s believe the Government should be clearer on its tax strategy, whilst 75 per cent would encourage increased investment in HMRC.

The study, conducted late last year, surveyed 103 MP’s from both sides of the House of Commons.

The majority of MP’s polled supported the suggestion that a clear tax strategy should be published by the Government of the day, during each Parliament, to be adhered to throughout that Parliament’s duration.

The AAT and ACCA report that the Treasury did previously publish a ‘corporate tax reform roadmap’, which can be found here.

However, it is worth noting that this was back in 2010 and singled out one specific tax, rather than addressing the bigger picture and the exercise has not been repeated since.

Since the passing of the Finance Bill in 2016, all large companies in the UK with a turnover exceeding £200m have been required to clarify their own tax strategy.

Yet, this is not something that is currently required of the Government itself.

Mark Farrar, chief executive, AAT said: ‘AAT has long called for a broad, overarching tax strategy to be published for the sake of all taxpayers – businesses and individuals alike – as well as to help government.’

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, global head of tax at ACCA added that a tax strategy would ‘make things a lot more clear, consistent and efficient’ across the board and would help businesses and individuals to ‘understand the reasons why they are paying taxes to HMRC’.

One clear pre-requisite, for achieving a more effective and efficient service, is funding; another notion that received strong support from MP’s.

Increased investment in HMRC would be put towards improving skills and quality of training, as well as boosting numbers of tax inspectors and call centre staff.

Carol George, Tax Manager, George Hay said: “I am sure many professionals and taxpayers alike can attest to having had a frustrating experience when dealing with HMRC, on one occasion or more, perhaps because of its stretched resources.”

“Increased investment in HMRC has the potential to make for a much more effective and efficient service, ultimately saving the businesses and individuals we work with, as well as us, a lot of time and effort when dealing with them. However, this will only be achieved if any funds made available are allocated appropriately.”

“The expected benefits to stakeholders are evident, but exactly how these suggestions will translate into action further down the line remains to be seen.”

Here at George Hay, we understand that tax issues are an integral part of financial planning and control – for both businesses and individuals. With ‘tax goalposts’ ever changing, staying one step ahead can be difficult, but that’s where we come in.

We can help you to navigate the complex rules and regulations, to plan carefully and to identify opportunities to compliantly reduce your tax burden and maximise savings, as well as saving you time and eliminating confusion when it comes to dealing with HMRC.

If you’re concerned about tax issues, whether business or personal, and you’d like to discuss your circumstances in more detail with one of our experts, contact us today at any one of our three offices in Biggleswade, Letchworth and Huntingdon.

[1] http://www.accaglobal.com/gb/en/news/2018/april/tax-strategy.html

https://www.aat.org.uk/aat-news/mps-clearer-tax-strategy-and-additional-hmrc-investment-needed

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