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HMRC breaks promise to streamline pensions legislation

Pensions tax simplification has swamped the industry with a 400 per cent increase in technical guidance pages and nearly double the number of pages of legislation that existed pre A-day.

Standard Life says the HMRC has broken a promise it made in 2002 to “sweep away” hundreds of pages of pensions legislation and almost a thousand pages of guidance . It has also failed to live up to its pledge in the 2004 Finance Act which stated that 151 pages of primary legislation, together with an expected 100 pages of secondary legislation and estimated 350 pages guidance would replace over 350 pages of primary and secondary legislation and nearly 1000 pages of guidance.
But Standard Life says the reality is that the industry now has to grapple with 541 pages of legislation compared to 350 pre-A-day and 1369 pages of technical guidance compared to 1000.
Standard Life head of pensions policy John Lawson says:
“By the time all of the tax simplification legislation is finally in place for the single new regime, there is likely to be over 600 pages of legislation. This is nearly double what we had covering eight tax regimes before April 2006. On top of that we have at least 1500 pages of technical guidance – a 400 per cent increase on what was envisaged only two years ago. Simple? Hmmm.”

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