> Government criticised over Finance Bill 2012
Government criticised over Finance Bill 2012
2 April 2012
The Government has been criticised for its 686 page Finance Bill, the longest published on record, after Chancellor George Osborne pledged to create a 'fairer, more efficient and simpler tax system' in this year's Budget.
The Treasury had already published 400 pages of draft legislation in its Draft Finance Bill in December, three months ahead of the Finance Bill, after pledging to improve the way that tax policy is developed.
In its 2010 document Tax Policy Making: A new approach, it had committed to unprecedented levels of consultation and scrutiny, however, industry experts have said the volume of the Bill puts more pressure on paper stock and makes detailed scrutiny of legislation increasingly difficult.
According to The Financial Times, ministers have condemned the length of taxation after George Osborne criticised the previous Government for creating the longest and most complex tax code in the world.
The Finance Bill 2012 includes reforms to corporation taxation, the insurance regime, an increase in personal allowances, reductions to the 50p rate of tax, and new anti-avoidance measures.
Commenting on the Bill, Anthony Thomas, president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), said that advanced consultation should always take place before publication.
He said: "It is clearly impossible for Parliament to give such an enormous Bill proper scrutiny in the limited time available. That means full and proper scrutiny before publication is vital. Fortunately large parts of the Bill have had that proper process - but it is unfortunate that some significant and wide-ranging measures such as the Child Benefit withdrawal charge are exposed here for the first time."
"We are surely getting to the point where the stages of good tax policy making - as set out in the government's 'Tax Policy Making - a new approach' need to be formalised in a code of practice. Any deviation from using all the proper stages, apart from anti-avoidance measures, needs to be specifically explained and justified by Ministers."