HC Deb 12 December 1995 vol 268 c565W
Mr. Tim Smith

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to publish and lay before Parliament the Inland Revenue's report on tax simplification. [5951]

Mr. Jack

The Inland Revenue report, entitled "The Path to Tax Simplification", has today been laid before Parliament in accordance with section 160 of the Finance Act 1995.

I warmly welcome this report. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said in his Budget statement that tax law has become too long and complicated and that he proposed that the Revenue tax code be rewritten in plain language.

This report suggests a practical way forward to deal with this issue. Its central proposal is a major project to rewrite tax law in clearer and simpler language. This would reduce the compliance costs which the tax system imposes, in one way or another, on every taxpayer in the country. It would also support the Government's deregulation initiative, the system of self-assessment we are introducing, and the Revenue's continuing efforts to improve customer service, quality and cost-efficiency in all its work.

A number of practical issues need further consideration including the parliamentary implications for dealing with the rewritten tax legislation. Meanwhile, the Chancellor has asked the Inland Revenue to proceed with preparatory work.

In addition to the report, the Inland Revenue has today issued "The Path to Tax Simplification—a background paper", which contains further material on tax simplification. This document has been placed in the Libraries of the House. Both documents will be on sale to the public from today.