Financial Secretary to the Treasurer, David Gauke, has announced plans to expand the Office of Tax Simplification, following through on a promise the Conservative party have consistently made throughout their general election campaigning and manifesto.

The Office of Tax Simplification was introduced in 2010 following the last general election under the premise of removing and re-shaping complicated, outdated and utterly unnecessary tax laws – many of which were adding extra time, resources and effort onto various processes. The work of the OTS aims to make the process of paying tax less of a burden, whilst freeing up HMRC’s resources, previously called upon to advise taxpayers.

Although staff numbers amount to only six – some of whom are purely part time – the department’s work has been well received by individuals and businesses up and down the country, which is why an expansion has been on the cards from the Conservatives for the life of their general election bid.

Over the next five years, the Conservatives’ expansion plans will see additional resources become available to the OTS – which also advises on important financial policies – with increased capacity for additional staff, as well as further improvements on powers.

As any contractor, freelancer or small business owner who has attempted to manage their own finances will know, paying tax and remaining compliant can be a tricky task, filled with many potential pitfalls. Although Mr Gauke acknowledged that they couldn’t make people enjoy paying tax, they could at least ‘make it simpler’, which is more likely to see self-assessment returns filed on time and accidental tax avoidance nipped in the bud.

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