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OTS publishes first annual report

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The Office of Tax Simplification has published its first annual report since being put on a statutory footing in November 2016, although the report also covers the period since the body was set up in July 2010. The OTS has so far made over 450 recommendations, some 200 of which the government has implemented, while others remain under consideration. Final reports are due shortly on simplifying the corporation tax computation and reform of paper stamp duty procedures. A final report on VAT is due for publication before the autumn Budget.

Other work being considered relates to making tax digital, capital allowances, patient capital and the ‘gig’ economy.

Almost 40 different people from the private and public sectors have worked for the OTS at some point during the period since 2010. The report pays particular tribute to John Whiting, who was tax director from 2010 until March 2017, and David Gauke who, as the Treasury minister responsible, played an important role in giving the OTS statutory backing.

The OTS’s final budget for the year April 2016 to March 2017 was £770,000, of which the pay element was £588,000. See

Separately, the OTS has published an evaluation of its work since 2010 (see This concludes with six ‘learning points’ for the OTS, which should:

  • point to directions for further work;
  • identify and recommend solutions that can tackle multiple complexities;
  • build a broader vision for the recommendations, rather than just a series of specific recommendations;
  • recognise and balance both horizontal (kind of taxpayer) and vertical (kind of tax) reviews;
  • follow up recommendations; and
  • see tax regime changes as an opportunity to reconsider recommendations previously rejected.