6 September 2017

Brexit: A plea from the heart

As a tax practitioner, business person and taxpayer, Paul Renz has a plea from the heart - to choose to remain stable.

Progress seems to be incredibly slow but I think we are beginning to grasp the enormity of the practical problems of voting to leave the European Union.

While it may very well be ‘alright on the night’, every day we hear more stories about the consequences of leaving, many of which not really understood or foreseen.

The consequences are likely to be perceived as truly horrible for some people as huge challenges emerge, but we have to learn to adapt and make the best of the situation. And, of course, we will.

However, as a tax practitioner, a business person and a taxpayer, I have a plea – from the heart.

Given that, simultaneously over the next few years, we face what promises to be extraordinary disruption before things settle down, and we have one of the largest and most complicated tax regimes in the world, do we not have an opportunity to take stock and give ourselves a competitive advantage?

The tax code, huge already, is significantly supplemented at least once a year, every year, often with disproportionately complicated tinkering. I haven’t even mentioned Making Tax Digital yet (which has now thankfully been delayed), however, for many, the shape of the proposed initiative appears to deliver a mismatch between the cost and benefit.

Tax regulation has become increasingly (and unnecessarily) convoluted over the years and I despair at the thought of it becoming even more complex. With this in mind, I am making a plea to the Government. I propose that there are no changes to our business tax or personal tax system until at least 2021, unless it is patently clear and accepted by all that the change simplifies matters.

That said, simplicity is probably an impossible goal, but surely we can choose to remain stable? Knowing that the rules in place now will continue to apply for the next, say, four years in an otherwise fast-changing world, could be very welcome. Don’t you agree?

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