Spring Budget 2023: tax simplification

15 March 2023

With the Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) being wound down as a result of the Autumn Statement in late 2022, HMRC and the Treasury now have a responsibility to incorporate into their standard practices.

HMRC is dedicating time to a systematic review of tax guidance and forms for small businesses over the next 24 months. Government will review guidance to ensure it is clear, simple and easy to understand, helping small businesses as they grow and improving the customer experience. This was an area highlighted at the last stakeholder engagement event help by HMRC which the CIPP attended. One participant stated to a HMRC director “Small businesses are not big businesses only small”, making a point that some guidance and assistance provided is pitched at a level not easily digestible for small business, especially those without large accounts and payroll departments.

Tax agents will be given the ability to register for payrolling benefits on behalf of their clients. This is cited to “reduce burdens on employers and enable agents to support their clients more effectively”. Details on how this process will work and effective dates are currently unavailable. We will release more information as it is made available.

There is also an announcement of a tax administration and maintenance day coming later in the spring. This will bring further consultations, calls for evidence and announcements relating to the tax system. With no definitive date we will keep a close eye on this as there is usually something worthy of payroll professionals scrutiny.

A call for evidence we have been made aware of, is looking into non-discretionary tax advantaged share schemes. This will seek views on considerations for improving and simplifying how Share Incentive Plan (SIP) and Save As You Earn (SAYE) employee share schemes are run and administered.

There is also a consultation looking into how HMRC can ‘simplify and modernise’ the income tax system. It seeks views on their intention to move to a ‘digital by default’ approach which will see technology much more integrated with the tax administration framework. It also wants views on improving the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) processes, and a review of the self-assessment criteria. 

With tax simplification now being in the remit of HMRC and the Treasury, it is good to see that this is being considered seriously. Only time will tell if the decision to bring this duty in house proves worthwhile.


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