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12:36 on Friday
30 April 2004

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Tax complexity set to worsen

The complexities of the tax system look set to grow, local business leaders have been warned.

Stephanie Smye, chairman of the Eastern Branch of the Institute of Directors, has told the institute's almost 1,000 members in Cambridgeshire:

“The increasingly arcane tax system is being allowed to grow unchecked. Every Chancellor wants to introduce his ‘tweaks’ for fiscal or political reasons; pressure groups lobby continuously for special treatment; tax advisors spot and exploit loopholes and the Inland Revenue changes the rules to thwart them.

“No government has shown any appetite for tax simplification. In fact, the problem has worsened recently, because the Inland Revenue system is now used to monitor the minimum wage, reclaim student loans and pay Working Families Tax Credits.

“I believe this extended use of the system will grow, embracing welfare benefits more widely. The underlying philosophy behind something like the Working Families Tax Credit may be laudable; the administrative hassle is another matter. All the work of assessing and paying these benefits is being forced onto companies and small businesses are being strangled by the red tape.”

April 2001




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