Tax by Design

The director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has bitterly criticised the structure of the UK tax system.

In May the director of the IFS, Paul Johnson, gave the annual Chartered Tax Adviser address. The essence of what he said grabbed a few press headlines in the national press but was deserving of more coverage.

Mr Johnson highlighted the “complexity and uncertainty” created by the poor tax policies introduced by the current coalition government “as well as those of its predecessor (and often earlier governments too)”. Among his criticisms were:

A former US Treasury Secretary once said that a tax system should look “like someone designed it on purpose.” There appears little chance of that happening in the UK soon, whatever the outcome of the General Election in less than a year’s time.

Tax laws can change. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice.