Treasury launches review into Office of Tax Simplification

The Treasury has launched a review into the effectiveness of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), the body tasked with proposing ways to simplify the overly complex UK tax system

Set up in 2010 when the coalition government came to power, this is the second review of the organisation. While it is primarily an internal Treasury review, there is also an opportunity for key stakeholders, including professional bodies, accountants and tax advisers, to contribute to the review.

The OTS is an independent office of the Treasury. It is led by a board comprising a chair, tax director, representatives of the Treasury and HMRC, four independent members from relevant sectors, and up to two independent observers. The board is supported in undertaking their duties by the OTS Secretariat, which has 10 full-time staff.

In line with the terms of reference, the Treasury welcome views on the effectiveness of the OTS in terms of its objectives and functions; the resourcing, funding and governance; the OTS’s relationships with HMRC and the Treasury; the OTS’s work to date, including both Chancellor commissioned and own-initiative reports; and the impact of its work on both the government’s approach to simplification and on wider public debate.

The Treasury paper stated: ‘Changes to simplify the tax system are part of wider tax policy decisions and need to be considered alongside other objectives including encouraging growth and investment, tackling avoidance and evasion, and promoting fairness. At times simplification is in tension with these objectives, having the potential to create “losers” as well as “winners”.’

The discussion document sets out a number of questions including whether the OTS is adequately funded and has the right resources and staffing, reaction to their work and reports to date, and areas where stakeholders would like to see research and analysis of tax policy with a view to achieving the overall objective of simplifying the current tax system.

The call for evidence is open for eight weeks and closes for comment on 6 July 2021. Please submit your responses by email to

Treasury consultation, Review of the Office of Tax Simplification

Sara White |Editor, Accountancy Daily, published by Croner-i

Sara White is editor of Accountancy Daily, published by Croner-i, and in...

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