Office of Tax Simplification

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) was set up on 20 July 2010 and was given the task of simplifying tax the regime. The first two tasks set for the OTS were to review all tax reliefs and to review small business taxes.

On 3 March 2011 the first report was published by the OTS and includes reviews and recommendation of the tax reliefs.

Quoted from the report:

Out of the total of 155 we are recommending that 54 remain unchanged, 37 be looked at in more detail, and 47 be abolished on the basis that they are either time expired, there is no ongoing policy rationale, the value is negligible, or the benefit is outweighed by the administrative burden:

We also suggest that 17 reliefs be simplified, including:

  • Enterprise investment scheme;
  • Venture capital trusts;
  • Entrepreneurs’ relief; and
  • Surplus advance corporation tax.

There are a further 883 reliefs not reviewed in detail, though categorised they may be reviewed in subsequent reports. The report has been submitted to the Chancellor for comment.

On 10 March 2011 the OTS has published its initial report on small business tax simplification.

A similar review to the tax reliefs, the area reviewed was that caused the most day-to-day complexity and uncertainty for small businesses. The remit also included a specific review of IR35. As this is only an initial report, comments is required from the Chancellor before a full OTS report is with specific recommendations on tax simplification for small businesses.

If you wish to contribute to the review, please email:

Finally, if you wish to see details on the OTS, please visit their website (via the related links section of this page).