Press release

Tax team’s roadshows reveal common ground on simplification

Several core areas of small business taxation are being routinely identified as needing review or simplification by those who them.

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


Several core areas of small business taxation are being routinely identified as needing review or simplification by those who use them, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) said today.

The volume and frequency of change, the difficulties caused by the different rules for income tax and national insurance, the impracticability of IR35 and problems over the dividing line between employment and self-employment were just some of the common areas that were raised and debated time and again during the roadshow events organised by the OTS.

The roadshows, which took place throughout the UK in locations from Aberdeen to Southampton, Hull to Taunton and  Belfast to Cambridge, provided a forum for tax agents, accountants, businesses and the public, to engage in the simplification project and air their views on how Britain’s tax code could be simplified, allowing the OTS to identify several areas to tackle.

John Whiting, Tax Director for the Office of Tax Simplification said:

I’m delighted that these events were so well received and stimulated such valuable debate amongst those attending.  That is exactly what we hoped for as we seek input to help us simplify Britain’s tax code as openly as possible.

Some points we had already identified, but others provided real food for thought - it’s important we consider all ways to making taxation for small businesses in particular a little easier. I would like to thank all those who attended, and would like to remind anyone that couldn’t make it, or anyone who has further ideas that we continue to welcome views on making small business taxation simpler for all.

The OTS is now working through the review of small business taxation and looking at the suggestions raised during discussions. An interim report will be produced in the coming weeks, in time for Budget 2011, together with a further report on tax reliefs.

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. It will initially take forward two reviews: simplifying tax reliefs and small business taxation. It will report to the Chancellor in advance of Budget 2011.

  3. The OTS set up the ‘roadshow’ workshops particularly  for the small business taxation review to encourage tax advisers and small businesses to engage with the team, giving their first hand views on the tax areas that cause the most problems, and suggestions on simplification. In all, the OTS has held over 40 meetings or roadshows with interested parties over the past three months.

  4. The OTS team is led by Chairman Rt Hon Michael Jack, and Tax Director John Whiting and has a staff of 7, drawn from HM Treasury, HM Revenue & Customs and secondees from a broad range of private firms.  Details and biographies are available on the OTS website.

  5. In addition, two ‘Consultative Committees’ have been set up to work with the team to review suggestions and feed in views.  Details are available on the OTS website.

  6. 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 7147 0051 / 07917 598392

Published 27 January 2011