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HOW COMPLEX IS UN-SIMPLE ?

posted 27 Mar 2014, 10:24 by Peter Webb   [ updated 5 Apr 2014, 03:03 ]

The OTS (Office of Tax Simplification - having a staff of 6 only) has the brief to rank complexity as a prelude to simplification priorities. This is being found difficult because the longest tax code on the planet has accumulated 'mass' detail by detail, and amendment by amendment, over time.  Do we mean in degree the amount of legislation, most pages in the code, burdensome compliance, cost/yield, costly administration, anomalous provisions, unintended and unreasonable impacts, out of date tax bases, or what ? In fact there are some 50 imposts in total with some 6 individual taxes doing most of the heavy lifting (75%)

 Reading a news report about their difficulty it was suggested to them that a ranking of page quantities per tax in the Tolley guide might help. The OTS answered that  learned studies and analyses had been done with inconclusive results. They say that they would like to meet to discuss  ideas. I believe that a blank canvas and a super-project to re-invent the wheel is the only solution even if requiring carefully planned and intricate transitional implementation as a final stage. It is hard to see how the present mass can be sub-divided conveniently for self-contained incision without more amendment often interlocking elsewhere in the code with yet more complexity resulting and with no clear idea of all consequential impacts. In any case simplifying piecemeal amendment still requires new compliance adjustment.

 For best results in the long term it must surely be more realistic to design simplicity than to try and tease out complexity.

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