Next week's Green Budget offers the government the chance to reign back a tax system that is rapidly spiralling out of control. At the same time as it is giving more responsibility to taxpayers, the tax system is becoming harder for taxpayers to understand. Complexity serves nobody's interests. 'A good Budget for accountants' is a common cry at Budget time. But accountants work with clients - and a confusing tax system does not make for a happy client. Only last month Kleinwort Benson fell foul of the capital gains tax regime and even the Inland Revenue itself is understood to be struggling with the ever more complicated system. Addressing this complexity next week would help the Revenue build bridges with quarters of British industry reeling from the debacle over the tax treatment of personal services companies. Ministers claimed they had consulted on the IR35 changes: in reality they made a decision behind closed doors in Whitehall, presented a fait accompli and - with a token nod towards consultation - made a handful of small concessions. Both of these situations should be addressed in Tuesday's Green Budget, which will be covered as it happens at our new website AccountancyAge.com. First, the tax system needs to be simplified - and more fundamentally than any changes the current tax law rewrite might offer. Second, if the Revenue is consulting on any new measure it should actually be prepared to listen.
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