The UK tax system

Less fair and less transparent than other tax regimes

The UK’s tax system is viewed as less fair and less transparent than other tax regimes, according to an international study of finance professionals by the ACCA.

Called Perspectives on Fair Tax, the report surveyed association members in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK and the US, gauging opinions on tax fairness, complexity, transparency and how well tax authorities communicate with their citizens.

Members in Singapore and Hong Kong had a positive view of their tax system, believing it to be fair and simple, while the UK, Australia and Canada said their regimes were ‘less fair’ and ‘somewhat complex.’ Respondents from the US said their tax system was ‘relatively complex.’

Francis Chittenden, ACCA professor of small business finance at Manchester Business School, who co-wrote the report, said: ‘The message from our research is for governments to reduce the volume of laws, directives and regulations that contributes most to complexity.

There is a fundamental issue for governments around the world to decide the purpose and structure of tax systems and importantly to communicate the rationale behind these decisions.’

Asked if their country’s tax regime was transparent, respondents from the UK rated it as the least transparent, while yet again Hong Kong and Singapore claimed their system to have the most transparency.

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