RegulationMar 6 2012

Lawyer tells Osborne to ‘make space’ for tax relief reform

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A senior lawyer has called on chancellor George Osborne to “make space” in the Financial Services Bill for a range of amendments to the current range of available tax reliefs, as set out by the Office of Tax Simplification last week.

Isabel Pooley, senior associate of law firm CMS Cameron McKenna, said many advisers had been lobbying for the tax relief reforms outlined by the OTS - which have been summarised in FTAdviser’s Regulation Tracker - for some time.

She said: “The opportunity to simplify certain aspects of the operation of approved employee share plans is welcomed from both a company’s and adviser’s perspective.

“Many of the recommendations address issues which advisers and companies have been lobbying on for some time.

“Given that some previous attempts at simplification have suffered from a lack of space in the Finance Bill, HM Treasury should be encouraged to introduce these changes at the earliest opportunity.

The Office of Tax Simplification carried out a review into all tax reliefs, allowances and exemptions for businesses and individuals, across all the taxes administered by HM Revenue & Customs.

The chancellor asked the OTS to identify reliefs that should be simplified or repealed to help achieve a simpler tax system. The OTS published the final report of the review of tax reliefs on Thursday (3 March).

The report recommended that 45 reliefs should be abolished, 17 reliefs should be simplified and 54 reliefs should be retained.

The OTS also found that there were eight expired reliefs which should be removed from legislation. The recommendations have been submitted to the chancellor ahead of Budget 2011.

Click here to read FTAdviser’s summary of the OTS paper.