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The acid test for tax simplification

Now the initial consultation phase (Simplifying the Taxation of Pensions: Increasing Choice and Flexibility for All) is over, it will be interesting to see if simplification is actually achieved. There is one simple acid test for this.

There are numerous practice notes for pensions, primarily they are:

•Personal Pension Scheme Guidance Notes IR 76

•Occupational Pension Schemes Practice Notes IR 12

•Very many updates published by the Inland Revenue.

These documents run to hundreds of pages.

If the Inland Revenue Savings Pensions and Share Scheme&#39s office instruct us all to destroy these documents, then simplification of the tax regime will have been achieved. If, after legislation, these documents continue to exist, simplification will have failed. The Treasury should use this acid test to prove the success or otherwise of this exercise.

Nick Bamford

Managing director, Informed Choice,Cranleigh, Surrey

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