ARC President Paula Houghton responds to the Institute for Government's (IfG) new report 'Taxing Times', which makes the case for tax system reform.
ARC welcomes the IfG’s recognition that if the Government is to meet the challenges of a changing economy and growing pressure on public services, it needs to urgently reform the United Kingdom’s tax systems.
The IfG report’s conclusions echo the calls ARC members have been making for years to improve the current, overly complex and piecemeal tax legislation of the country.
Our members administer and enforce the tax law of this country, and they know the difficulties which have been growing in recent years due to people taking advantage of loopholes and schemes designed to circumvent the spirit of the legislation.
Changing business models pose additional challenges to the efficient application of tax law, as our tax laws are largely outdated and are not equipped to deal efficiently with technology based business and modern working practices.
These laws are also complex, and the sheer volume of the legislation makes it difficult for businesses, particularly small businesses, to be certain they are getting it right.
Any barrier to collecting the right amount of tax is damaging to the country as a whole. It means the UK has less money to fund vital public services like the NHS, schools and policing. Public services have been cut to the bone in many areas and improved taxation law and a simpler system could reverse some of that downward trend, and ensure we have the resources to fund everything from libraries to social care.
ARC members are ideally placed and perfectly qualified to assist any efforts to reform and reframe tax law, and we want to work with the Government to produce solutions to these problems. Together, we want to create a tax system that works for the country, that is fit for the 21st century – and robust enough to take us into the next.
Paula Houghton is the President of ARC, the FDA section representing members working in HMRC.