Press release

Pensioner tax and Share Schemes next areas for simplification

The simplification agenda will continue with projects looking at the complexities involved with pensioners’ taxation and share schemes.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The simplification agenda will continue with projects looking at the complexities involved with pensioners’ taxation and share schemes, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) announced today.

As well as the continuing work on Small Business taxation, the OTS plans to look at the complexities faced by pensioners with their tax affairs, especially those with low income from multiple sources. In addition, the OTS will also review Share Schemes, initially looking to gather evidence on where the various approved share schemes are most complex.

The OTS will also be carrying out further work to try and identify parts of the tax system that are particularly complex.

The OTS has identified these areas for review as they have the potential to benefit a significant number of taxpayers, tackle legislative complexity, and streamline tax administration.

In a letter to the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke MP, the Rt Hon Michael Jack, Chairman of Office of Tax Simplification, said: 

For the estimated 5.6m people of pensionable age paying tax, this area is widely acknowledged as causing too many problems for a group, some of whom are the least able to cope with them.

The OTS will be looking for ways in which pensioners’ tax affairs can be dealt with in a much more straightforward way - especially for those with multiple sources of income.

On the Share Schemes review, Michael added:

As for Share Schemes, this is an area that businesses have regularly cited to us as an area with too many complexities and traps for the unwary. So we will be looking to see if there is scope to harmonise rules and make arrangements simpler to use.

The new reviews will be aiming to produce reports and recommendations to the Chancellor in time for Budget 2012.

The OTS will be recruiting secondees to work on the projects and will be forming two new Consultative Committees to help steer the work. Terms of reference for the two projects will be published next month.

Notes to Editors

  1. The independent Office of Tax Simplification was established on 20 July 2010 to carry out reviews in order to provide expert advice to the Chancellor on options to improve and simplify the UK’s tax system.

  2. The OTS started its work in September and has initially taken forward two reviews: simplifying tax reliefs and small business taxation. It reported to the Chancellor on both in advance of Budget 2011.

  3. The letter from Rt Hon Michael Jack to the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke MP can be found on the OTS website.

  4. The OTS team is led by Chairman Rt Hon Michael Jack, and Tax Director John Whiting and has a staff of 6, drawn from HM Treasury, HM Revenue & Customs and secondees from the private sector.  Details and biographies are available on the OTS website.

  5. The OTS’s final report on small business taxation will include survey work and more discussions and consultations with businesses. Terms of reference for the work on tax administration are available on the OTS website and details on the other strands of the review will be published shortly.

  6. The OTS will also be carrying out work to try and define areas of complexity in the tax code, to give a potential foundation to its ongoing work. Again, further details will be announced shortly.

  7. The OTS can be contacted at:

Issued by Office of Tax Simplification Press Office Press enquiries only please contact:
Andrew Bennett
OTS Press Officer 
Phone:  020 7270 6190 / 07917 598392

Published 27 June 2011