Is There a Way Out of the Tax Labyrinth?

F Chittenden, H Foster

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Our starting point for this research was to identify how a Tax Policy Committee (TPC)based on the idea of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) might work. There are two strands to the research: the first being desk research to identify whether a TPC exists anywhere else, and how other countries handle changes to their tax systems. Within this stage we also examined the operation of the MPC and discussions of how its process has evolved, although this aspect is not reproduced in this publication. Secondly, we conducted telephone interviews with ACCA representatives, academics and a Parliamentary representative from the Labour party and the Conservative party. Overall we have sought to identify those issues that ACCA would need to bear in mind when taking this idea forward. In our desk research we have reviewed relevant think tanks and the existing research. The problem of complexity in tax is not a new issue, nor is it confined to the UK. We find that a number of countries have begun to simplify their tax systems, and while much is written about what they have done in terms of structural changes to the systems and the taxes themselves, it is less clear how it has been achieved from an institutional point of view, and how successful it may or may not have been. Existing research suggests that there are particular reasons as to why it is proving so difficult to achieve this kind of change in the UK, eg the first-past-the-post electoral system, and the apparent lack of political will to initiate such a programme. We thought it fundamental to examine the issues in order to identify the problems to be solved by a TPC or other body (bodies) before specifying the details of such a committee. As the discussion unfolds, we report a number of views suggesting that the task of improving the tax system is of such proportions that more than one committee may be necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherAssociation of Chartered Certified Accountants
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

Publication series

NameACCA Discussion Papers
PublisherAssociation of Chartered Certified Accountants


  • Tax, Simplification, Policy


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