AHEAD of his first major speech as chancellor at the Conservative Party Conference, Phillip Hammond is being urged to overhaul the way tax policy is made in the UK.
The Institute for Government (IfG), Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) have written to Hammond listing immediate changes they believe will improve and simply the making of tax policy.
Bill Dodwell, president, CIOT, said: “Good tax policy comes from an open, consultative process in which all those affected have a voice, and early enough for the policy development process to be meaningful. The reforms we suggest would help achieve this.”
The changes included returning to a single annual fiscal event, to stop Autumn Statements becoming second Budgets. As well as starting the consultation for tax changes earlier, to avoid costly errors and embarrassing U-turns.
Paul Johnson, director, IFS, said: “Nearly £4 in every £10 earned in the economy is taken in tax, so how the tax system works matters enormously to us all. The current system is not fit for purpose. Too many changes are sprung on the country with too little sense of direction, consultation or evaluation.”
Additionally, the changes called for establishing clear guiding principles and priorities, extending the roadmap approach, pointing to a clear direction in areas where individuals and businesses need to plan and make long-term decisions, such as pensions and savings. Finally, preparing the ground for future policy changes through external reviews to open up public debate about the tax system.
Jill Rutter, programme director, IfG, said: “Theresa May said in her leadership campaign that it was time to talk about tax. We agree and we need to discuss how to reform the Budget process to make tax policy fit for post-Brexit Britain. That means clearer direction, fewer surprises, a radical reduction in the number of measures and willingness to engage the public.”
A full report will be published later in the year.