November 18 2015.

Ahead of the Autumn Statement next week, the British Chambers of Commerce has today (Wednesday) called for tax administration to be a key part of the government’s drive to cut regulation by £10bn this Parliament.

The BCC has written a letter to key cabinet ministers, calling on them to tackle the spiralling cost of tax administration that is holding back British business:

1. Reduce the number of changes to business tax rules by:

a) Making business tax administration changes subject to Regulatory Policy Committee scrutiny, which would ensure tax changes are properly assessed before being imposed on businesses;

b) Subject tax administration measures to the government’s ‘one in, two out’ rule, to make ministers think twice about making changes

2. Economic regulators in the UK are subject to a Growth Duty and regular reporting. HMRC should have to do this as well, given its sprawling impact on business and economic performance.

In its submission to the Spending Review, the BCC called for investment in HMRC support for business users, equivalent to the amount spent on improving enforcement. With HMRC recently announcing the restructuring of HMRC tax offices, the BCC further states that HMRC should simplify the tax system, promoting good compliance with tax obligations that would ultimately benefit both business and the Exchequer.

Commenting, Dr Adam Marshall, Executive Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The cost of complying with the UK’s ever-more complicated tax code has rocketed up the list of business complaints in recent years.

“Ministers need to put a brake on the number of changes to tax administration and compliance rules, much as they have done with other forms of regulation in recent years.

“HMRC is under a lot of scrutiny from business and individual taxpayers at the moment, and rightly so. By taking steps to reduce the number and frequency of changes to tax rules, the government would at a stroke make a big improvement to the prospects for business.”