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The UK Government is Moving Towards TAX Simplification

Nov 20, 2007
The UK Government is reviewing:

- how to simplify VAT rules and administration in the UK and the EU;
- how anti-avoidance legislation can best meet the aims of simplicity and revenue protection; and
- how to simplify the corporation tax rules for related companies.

The reviews follow on from the Budget 2007 announcements to make the tax system fairer, simpler and more efficient by:

- modernising and simplifying both the personal and business tax systems;
- publishing the implementation plan for the 2006 Review of HMRC Links With Large Business; and
- delivering 300 million pounds of administrative savings to business, helping HMRC towards achieving its administrative burden targets.

How to simplify VAT rules and administration in the UK and the EU. HMRC is seeking views on the areas where VAT simplification is likely to be of most significance to all VAT registered business and has identified the following areas for particular attention:

- the administrative procedures associated with the election to waive exemption in relation to land and no-residential buildings;
- the scope for simplifying the standard partial exemption method; the rules and processes around de minimis; and the procedure for calculating and adjusting VAT recovery under the Capital Goods Scheme;
- the frequency with which businesses submit returns, with a view to getting more businesses to submit annual VAT returns and whether annual accounting arrangements could be attractive to larger businesses;
- the existing range of published retail schemes and whether, taking into account developments in retail till technology, the design of these schemes is consistent with the objective of simplifying retail accounting; and also whether the requirement that larger retailers agree bespoke schemes provides the right balance between simplification and certainty in tax accounting;
- the identification and prioritization of complex VAT areas for simplification at EU level.

How can anti-avoidance legislation best meet the aims of simplicity and revenue protection? In the Government's view the best way to simplify anti-avoidance legislation is through clear, effective and well targeted provisions. This applies both to existing and new legislation. The review could also look at whether all anti-avoidance provisions should be in primary legislation or use a more flexible combination of primary and secondary legislation. Businesses are asked to highlight those areas of anti-avoidance legislation that impose the most significant burden.

How the corporation tax rules for related companies can be simplified. Areas where simplification will be of most significance to UK companies have been identified by the Government as follows:

- group aspects of corporation tax on chargeable gains;
- associated company rules for the small companies corporation tax rate;
- Corporation Tax Self Assessment (CTSA) filing and payment arrangements for groups; and
- further reductions in the administrative burden of transfer pricing rules
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The Zetland Financial Group provides the offshore investor with fiduciary Services, investment management and corporate advisory services , offering personal service and professional advice with total confidentiality.
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