The burden of red tape on business could be slashed if Customs & Excise worked more closely with the Inland Revenue, leading tax practitioners have told MPs. The Commons Treasury Committee, chaired by Sir Michael Spicer, heard that allowing companies to submit a single annual financial statement to the Revenue and Customs would eliminate much of the paperwork currently overwhelming businesses. Additionally, PricewaterhouseCoopers indirect tax chief executive partner Mike Fountain, said Customs had a culture of seeking to maximise tax collected rather than collecting tax that is legally due. Fountain also warned against the merger due to the number of pressures on tax authorities for the foreseeable future. 'We would recommend the continued development of closer co-operation between the various tax authorities rather than merger. 'Due to the number of pressures on tax authorities at the moment and in the foreseeable future, it would not be practical to request them to undertake a merger,' he said. 'A full-blown merger is not something the business world is that comfortable with.' Stephen Coleclough, chairman of the Chartered Institute of Taxation's indirect taxes sub-committee, told MPs that the powers of the Revenue departments needed to be harmonised in order to improve efficiency. While backing a merger, Coleclough said the implications required 'careful thought and consultation'. Customs was also heavily criticised for its stance on compliance by Coleclough, Fountain and Andrew Hart, the honorary secretary of the Customs Practitioners Group. All three said seeking a ruling on a VAT liability was 'not worth the paper it is written on' as the department was prone to reverse any rulings.
Ssupermassive black hole is so big it corresponds to four per cent of the galaxy's total mass
Imminent attack will target a single bank with cloned cards used to fraudulently withdraw millions over one weekend
Using photocatalysts to convert carbon dioxide into usable energy such as methane or ethane
Trained on curated data from Moorfields Eye Hospital, the neural network also shows clinicians how it reached its judgement