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July 6, 2021

ICAS urges UK Government to improve tax administration

By Joe Pickard

In its report, Tomorrow’s Tax Administration, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) has highlighted ten priorities to improving tax administration which it believes the UK Government needs to act urgently on.

ICAS director of taxation Charlotte Barbour said: Good tax administration is essential, even though it may not feature at the top of many political wish lists. It has a role to play in fulfilling the UK Government’s ambition for an open, business-friendly economy post-Brexit. If society as a whole does not trust the tax system because it does not function properly, voluntary compliance is undermined and the consequences for government revenues are serious.

“The government needs tax administration to work effectively to deliver the money it needs to pay for Covid recovery and fund ambitious initiatives around tackling climate change and levelling-up.”

While ICAS said it is supportive of the government’s 10-year strategy for making a tax system that is ‘fit for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century’, it noted that there are immediate priorities that require urgent action. These include the provision of increased HMRC resources to address poor service levels and funding to tackle patchy digital systems which cause problems for taxpayers and tax agents on a day-to-day basis.

ICAS head of tax policy Susan Cattell said: “Pushing ahead with major, complex projects, like Making Tax Digital, whilst failing to ensure that basic tax administration works properly for everyone who has to engage with it, is unacceptable and will not deliver what the government or taxpayers need. Building tomorrow’s tax administration has to start from today.”

The full report can be read here.

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