March’s Budget measures were too complex

Accountants may be interested to learn that the Treasury select committee has published its report on the Finance Bill and highlighted the undue complexity of some of the provisions. The report was based on findings from ACCA, CioT and ICAEW.

Although the Budget scored highly on the principle of supporting competition and growth and moderately well on stability, it placed an unfair burden on families earning between £40,000 and £50,000. It also did not provide certainty or practicability.

One of the tax partners at PwC, Barry Murphy, pointed out that if it took three institutes to work out what impact the budget would have, it suggests that the UK taxation system is still too complex.

The report from the Treasury select committee reiterates the common theme of SMEs struggling to get the right tax and accounting advice so that they can cope with complex new regulations, he continued.

HMRC says its ambition is to work on a more open basis with advisers and taxpayers and maybe a good litmus test would be whether taxpayers can get the right advice to enable them to pay the correct amount of tax.

All three institutes passed judgement on the complex nature of the disguised remuneration anti-avoidance legislation by saying it did not provide certainty for taxpayers. They also questioned whether the measures were practical. The ACCA pointed out that there are not many firms that will keep records to the requisite level of accuracy and detail to enable them to benefit from the amendments to the short life asset scheme.

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