Business chiefs urge taxes shake-up

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Published: Saturday 31st January 2015 by The News Editor

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Business leaders have called for big changes to taxes raising less than £5 billion, saying they should be merged or scrapped.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) identified taxes such as stamp duty on shares, air passenger duty (£3 billion each), and capital gains and inheritance tax (both £5 billion).

Taxes which collect more than £5 billion should be simplified or reduced, the group argued.

Stephen Herring, head of taxation at the IoD, said: “The basic principles here are that taxes should be focused purely upon the fiscal revenues collected and their wider economic impact. They should not be confiscatory, punishing or unduly complex.

“We continue to support the priority given to reducing the UK’s annual fiscal deficit and recognise that this is no easy task. We also support reforms that have improved the UK’s competitive ranking as a business friendly country. However, we have been disappointed with the pace of tax reform under the Coalition, and a more radical agenda for tax reforms is now needed.

“Proposals for any new taxes ought to be properly challenged with regard to their efficiency, their collection costs and the possibility of undesirable and unforeseen consequences.

“Two worrying examples of where these concerns have not been thought through include the Coalition’s proposed diverted profits tax and the Opposition’s proposal for a mansion tax.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “The Government has taken action to make the UK tax system fairer, simpler and more competitive. This includes cutting corporation tax to the lowest in the G20, reforming stamp duty and introducing the longest fuel duty freeze in 20 years.

“We have also taken major steps to tackle tax avoidance, including introducing the diverted profits tax to ensure big multinationals pay their fair share of tax.”

Published: Saturday 31st January 2015 by The News Editor

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