John Whiting to remain as tax director at OTS

Accountants in London may be interested to learn that John Whiting’s role as tax director at the Office of Tax Simplification has now becoming a permanent position. He was originally hired on an interim basis when the government launched the OTS in July last year.

The coalition created the OTS to provide the Chancellor with independent advice on the best way to simplify the tax system. Over the last year, the Office has suggested the merger of National Insurance and Income Tax, and at the moment it is looking into small business taxation.

Both Whiting’s role, and that of the chairman Michael Jack, are voluntary, although Whiting is to receive an honorarium of £12,000 a year in recognition of the contribution he makes to government policy making.

David Gauke, the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said the government strongly believes that the UK taxation system should be easy to understand and comply with. The work conducted by the OTS is pivotal in achieving this and he was delighted that both Jack and Whiting have accepted permanent roles with the Office.

After his appointment was confirmed, Whiting expressed his delight at being allowed to drive forward the Office’s projects and he admitted that there was still a lot to do.

On the subject of taxation, advisors have warned that a financial transaction tax will cost far more in implementation than it will glean.

Last week, the EC outlined its plans to levy a charge of 0.1% on financial transactions that involve a company in the Union.

However, KPMG financial services tax partner, Tom Aston, was quick to point out that implementing Stamp Duty in the UK proved highly disruptive and expensive. Furthermore, banks are already undergoing huge IT changes due to regulatory changes and a further tax could destroy their business models.

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