The Government has just established the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS). It's first task will be to review tax reliefs and small business tax simplification (including IR35).

The new office will be lead by Board Members Michael Jack (Chairman) and John Whiting (Tax Director). They will identify areas where complexities in the tax system for both businesses and individual taxpayers can be reduced and to publish their findings for the Chancellor to consider ahead of his Budget.

 The Rt Hon Michael Jack, the Chair of the OTS, said:
"Entrepreneurship should never be stifled because of an overly complex tax system. That's why I am delighted that the Government have committed themselves to looking at ways to simplify the tax system, with an initial focus on small businesses.

John Whiting, the Tax Director of the OTS, said:
"I've long argued that we need a simpler tax system in the UK, so I'm delighted to be given the opportunity to take forward the Government's commitment in that direction.

"In our complex world a truly simple tax system for all is probably impossible, but working towards a simpler system will help all who deal with it: taxpayers, especially the unrepresented, tax advisers and tax authorities."

The OTS will also draw on external expertise from the tax and legal profession over the coming months. These experts will focus on specific areas of complexity in the tax system and provide additional advice to the OTS.

Over the past decade, the UK’s  tax code has doubled to more than 11,000 pages and the UK slipped from 7th to 13th in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index between 1997 and 2009-10.

Editorial comment
Fantastic news on IR35, but this is a huge nut to crack because tax is only one piece of the jigsaw. Perhaps we should look "cross law"? 

Cross law means that we should balance up the effects of any changes in the rules by thinking about how they apply in terms of Tax, NICs, Employment law, the "Worker" - that sub-category of employee, the National Miniumum Wage (don't ask - but it always comes up when you talk about dividends and OMBs), the NEST (do ask, this is the new state sponsored-set-up, not-for-profit occupational pension scheme for the middle to low income bracket without pension savings and will contribute to employer cost from 2012), and the bigger picture, which of course is Government policy in making sure that the UK is an attractive place to do business, the needs of "big business" and tax treaties.

Sounds horrific? Not really: now IR35 is horrific.