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OTS Annual Report 2018-19

OTS Annual Report 2018-19

The Annual Report reviews the work of the OTS in advising on simplifying the UK tax system.

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Director, Tax Policy

KPMG in the UK


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The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has released its Annual Report for 2018-19. The report looks at the work the OTS has carried out in the year, in particular its advice on the administration of inheritance tax, HMRC guidance and the opportunities and issues arising from the gig economy and technology as a whole. This year’s report also discusses the significant changes in leadership at the OTS, with a new Tax Director and Chair being appointed.

The OTS is the independent adviser to the Government, advising on simplification of the UK tax system, to improve the experience for taxpayers.

The Annual Report sets out the various issues the OTS has looked at in the year to 31 March 2019, both on its own initiative, and following agreement with the Chancellor. This work has resulted in seven reports being published:

  • The first report on inheritance tax, focusing on administration of the tax;
  • The second report on inheritance tax, focusing on the way the tax itself works;
  • A review of whether to replace capital allowances with an allowance for accounting depreciation;
  • A report on the way HMRC’s guidance is created, presented and overseen to make this more user-friendly;
  • An initial review of how to tax self-employed online platform workers;
  • A wide-ranging report on the use of technology, including the questions of who is responsible when it goes wrong and whether greater automation could help; and
  • A report on the simplification of everyday tax for smaller businesses throughout their life cycle.

In addition, this year has seen some significant changes in leadership at the OTS, with Bill Dodwell succeeding Paul Morton as Tax Director, and Kathryn Cearns OBE succeeding Angela Knight CBE as Chair. Bill Dodwell’s Tax Director’s Report comments on the strategy of the OTS, discussing how simplification of the tax system will ultimately reduce costs for both taxpayers and HMRC.

The Annual Report also sets out some of the OTS’ plans for future work, including a preliminary report on reporting and possible tax withholding by the engagers of self-employed people, which has already been scoped out here. The OTS will also be looking at a number of issues in Tax Administration, as well as reviewing the impact of its more significant recent reports.

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