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Tax system could be more helpful to business

There is room to make the UK tax system more business-friendly, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has claimed.

The business group argued that policy changes require greater consideration before they are implemented, pointing to a survey of its members which found that 69 per cent believed that measures set out in the 2009 Budget would have a negative effect on the economy.

Specifically, the IoD said that there was no advance consultation on the 2009 policy that requires senior accounting officers to certify the state of their companies’ tax accounting systems.

While the aim of the measure might have been sound, the lack of advance consultation meant that the government has blundered into imposing onerous new burdens. A tax system, the IoD added, only has a chance of being business-friendly if officials talk to businesses about what will work and what will not.

The IoD also described the levels of service provided by HMRC as “variable”. Although improvements had been made in some areas, there have been problems with technically demanding types of work, the business organisation claimed.

Richard Baron, head of taxation at the IoD, commented: “The UK’s tax system is reasonably business-friendly. But there is plenty of scope for improvement.

“Governments should always consult on the principle of their proposals, so as not to impose unanticipated burdens. And there is definitely scope to improve Revenue standards of service.”