The country’s tax laws are constantly changing as the Autumn Statements were modified, and the December Statement is expecting to be enhanced as well. Upon the recommendations of the Chartered Institute of Taxation in conjunction with the Institute for Government and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a Better Budgets report was made public earlier this year with specific ideas for the better performance of Government.
There were ten recommendations in all. The first was to adhere to a single principal fiscal event while reducing the number of additional Budget measures. This recommendation stressed fiscal solvency through sticking to an initial Budget and prevent overspending through the limiting/eliminating additions to the Budget through the year.
Second, there is a necessity to define the principles and priorities of tax policy in a clear and manner. Creating early statements for the priorities and approaches to the tax system would give Parliament the framework to fiscally responsibility.
Third would be to create a Corporate Tax Road Map model, which were outlined in the Better Budgets report and could be applied across the tax system. The fourth would be to begin tax consultations earlier in the taxation process to prevent time and money being wasted with consultations that occur when the tax process is in motion and key decisions have been made and implemented. A fifth idea would be to find more active approaches to consultations in which people being consulted are found before the consultation was necessary and respondents could be polled for their opinions giving valuable feedback.
The sixth recommendation would be to poll the public in order to see where future reforms might be initiated. Through conducting external reviews via independent means, the policy making process could be improved using more public participation. The basis for the seventh recommendation is to have the Treasury and HMRC address the potential gaps in the perceived capability of making tax policy. Allowing insiders who can develop a tax expertise in HMT and policy expertise in HMRC needs to be supported.
The eighth recommendation supports the improvement of internal processes in order to modify the making of tax and Budget policy. The use of small Budget Cabinet Committees will improve making decisions through a collective means resulting in expert challenges presenting issues and suggesting solutions. Ninth, the ability of Parliament and the public to review and criticize tax proposals needs to be improved. The Government needs to provide both Parliament and the public clear documentation of decision-making in order to enhance transparency. Parliamentary committees working on taxes need to have better working relationships with access to more information from tax experts.
Finally, all tax measures need to be institutionalized and have the ability to be evaluated through post-legislative review. These reviews need to be efficient and on a regular basis to see if these measures are achieving their goals within proper means. More data needs to be available to Parliament so that the legislative body can hold the government accountable if necessary.
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