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Conservatives pledge massive tax law shake-up

The Conservative Party has pledged a huge shake-up to the way tax law is made with greater Parliamentary scrutiny and a commitment to publish major technical changes no later than the pre-Budget report.

Speaking at the launch of the Tory’s tax simplification report in London today, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne promised to bring an end to the current administration’s “stealth tax” regime.

Osborne said a future Conservative Government would implement the key recommendations of the report which was written by a working group led by former Tory Chancellor Lord Howe.

Osborne said a Conservative Government would create an Office of Tax Simplification made up of HM Revenue & Customs, Treasury officials and industry professionals. The aim of the OTS will be to systematically examine the existing tax code and make proposals for simplification.

He said the Tories would introduce a new convention whereby all proposed technical changes to tax law would be produced no later than the PBR proceeding the relevant Finance Bill, together with draft legislation if possible.

The Tories would also introduce a new select committee focusing on taxation.

Osborne said: “The Labour dominated Treasury Select Committee hit the nail on the head last week. They said: ‘For personal tax decisions, the sudden and final nature of Budget decisions has been less about the need to prevent forestalling activity than it has been about the perceived benefit of seeming to pull rabbits from the hat.’ Sadly Gordon Brown’s rabbits have too often ended up looking like dodos.”

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