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OTS examines tax on the life cycle of a business

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The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has published a report on the taxation of key events in the life of a business, recommending urgent work to simplify the business tax system and encourage growth.

Paul Morton, OTS tax director, said: ‘This paper takes a significant first step towards meeting the pressing need to undertake a detailed review of the tax system as it operates across the business lifecycle.’

The report focuses upon businesses owned by individuals and families and considers the effectiveness and interaction of tax charges and reliefs where a business:

  • starts to operate and incorporates;
  • seeks growth finance; and
  • is transferred, sold or ceases to exist.

The OTS concludes that ‘the complex patchwork of tax charges and reliefs which apply at the various points in the business lifecycle would benefit from an overhaul to reduce complexity, make reliefs more accessible and to better enable businesses to fulfil their potential’. The report makes 32 observations, with 12 of them being particularly highlighted, focusing on:

  • the operation of the seed enterprise investment scheme, enterprise investment scheme and venture capital trust schemes; and
  • the interactions, and differences, between entrepreneurs’ relief, CGT gift relief and inheritance tax reliefs for business assets.

The OTS is seeking feedback on the issues raised in its report and intends to further consider some of the highlighted areas in the future.

See: Simplifying the taxation of key events in the life of a busines (