A model partnership agreement, broader education for smaller partnerships and free tax return software are amongst the options proposed by the consultative committee set up to help advise the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) on ways to simplify partnership taxation requirements.
According to the minutes of the committee meeting earlier this month, these suggestions are among a number of 'quick wins' which would not require new legislation and would not prove costly for HMRC to implement. Mandatory naming of the nominated partner on the online return is another such option.
However, the committee identified other priority areas for reducing complexity which it said would be more challenging to address. They include partners' expenses claims, which could be simplified by allowing partners to put personal expenses on their own returns. However this would require legislative change and the change may not be a simplification.
The partnership return was also thought to be a strong area of complexity, particularly with small partners. It was again felt that this was not an area with a current workable solution, so this should also be considered by the OTS in future work. The committee said there needed to be a balance between the information required by HMRC and the burden of producing the information.
The consultative committee includes members from the professional services institutes, firms and campaigning groups. The OTS is now preparing a draft report for consideration by the committee before Christmas, with its final report due to be published early next year.