The Tax Law Rewrite project
7.In December 1995 the Inland Revenue presented a report to Parliament on the scope for simplifying the United Kingdom tax system (The Path to Tax Simplification). The main recommendation was that United Kingdom direct tax legislation should be rewritten in clearer, simpler language.
8.This recommendation was warmly welcomed, both in Parliament and in the tax community. In his November 1996 Budget speech the then Chancellor of the Exchequer (the Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP) announced that the Inland Revenue would propose detailed arrangements for a major project to rewrite direct tax legislation in plainer language.
9.The project team has been carrying out this work. The aim is that the rewritten legislation should use simpler language and structure than previous tax legislation. The members of the project are drawn from different backgrounds. They include longstanding HMRC employees, former private sector tax professionals and parliamentary counsel including (as head of the drafting team) a senior member of the Parliamentary Counsel Office.
10.The work of the project is overseen by a Steering Committee, chaired by the Rt Hon the Lord Newton of Braintree OBE DL. The membership of the Steering Committee as at 31 October 2008 was:
The Rt Hon the Lord Newton of Braintree OBE DL (Chairman)
Dr John Avery Jones CBE
Baron Christopher of Leckhampton CBE
Dave Hartnett CB
The Rt Hon Michael Jack MP
Eric Joyce MP
District Judge Rachel Karp
Professor John Tiley CBE
John Whiting CBE
11.The work is also reviewed by a Consultative Committee, representing the accountancy and legal professions and the interests of taxpayers. The membership of the Consultative Committee as at 31 October 2008 was:
|Brian Atkinson||100 Group|
|Adam Broke||Special Committee of Tax Law Consultative Bodies|
|Colin Campbell||Confederation of British Industry|
|Russell Chaplin||London Chamber of Commerce & Industry|
|Mary Fraser||Association of Chartered Certified Accountants|
|Malcolm Gammie CBE QC||The Law Society of England and Wales|
|Julian Ghosh QC||Revenue Bar Association|
|Keith Gordon||Chartered Institute of Taxation|
|Terry Hopes||Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales|
|Bob McInerney||Federation of Small Businesses|
|Isobel d'Inverno||Law Society of Scotland|
|Amy Jones||Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland|
|Simon McKie||Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales|
|Lakshmi Narain||Chartered Institute of Taxation|
|Francis Sandison||The Law Society of England and Wales|
|Michael Templeman||Institute of Directors|
|Professor David Williams||Office of the Social Security Commissioners|
|Mervyn Woods||Confederation of British Industry|
12.The work produced by the project has been subject to public consultation. This has allowed all interested parties an opportunity to comment on draft clauses.
13.This consultation took the form of a series of papers which published clauses in draft. There were 20 of these, published between July 2006 and November 2008 and a draft Bill was published for consultation in February 2008. All these documents are available on the Tax Law Rewrite website.
14.The project also held detailed informal discussions and workshops with leading private sector tax professionals and HMRC specialists to consider the drafting of the more complex areas of rewritten tax legislation, for example, loan relationships and derivative contracts.
15.Those who responded to one or more of the papers, or to the draft Bill, include:
Alma Consulting Group
Chartered Institute of Taxation
Confederation of British Industry
Deloitte & Touche LLP
Ernst & Young LLP
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc.
London Investment Banking Association
London Society of Chartered Accountants
Note: this list excludes those who asked that their responses be treated in confidence.