Coalition makes 200 changes to the tax code

THE coalition government has made 200 changes to the tax code since taking power last year – despite promising to simplify the tax system.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) said the huge number of changes had created a “compliance headache for accountants, businesses and individuals”.

Chancellor George Osborne set up a new Office of Tax Simplification amid much fanfare last July, and tasked it with cutting down a tax code he said had become overly complex after “a decade of meddling and intervening” by Labour.

But Osborne has made more changes to the tax code in a single year than his predecessor Gordon Brown. Brown made 130 changes in his Budgets of 1997 and 1998 and around 120 in the post-election Budgets of 2002 and 2006.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at ACCA, said: “The number of changes made means the government is taking two steps back for every one step forward in its battle to get to grips with the UK’s complicated tax system.”

Last week, John Whiting, the “tax tsar” appointed to head up the OTS, embarrassed the chancellor by hitting out at his tax raid on North Sea oil and gas firms.