CIOT warns of risk of Budget “rabbits”

Released 15 March 2017

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has commented that the government’s U-turn on the Chancellor’s Budget decision to increase national insurance contributions (NICs) for the self-employed illustrates the risk of pulling a rabbit out of the hat on Budget day without consultation or preparing the ground in advance.

The CIOT’s policy director, John Cullinane, said chancellors should beware announcing major tax changes in the face of what it considers an ongoing problem of inadequate consultation and the lack of a strategic approach to tax policy from successive governments. Earlier this year, the CIOT, Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Institute for Government (IfG) published a report, Better Budgets, to highlight such issues.

Mr Cullinane said it was vital the government changed the way it makes tax and budget decisions to reduce taxpayer confusion, cut down costly errors and avoid embarrassing U-turns. The move to a single fiscal event was a step in the right direction but the abandonment of the NICs increase showed how a better, more careful approach to tax policy was in the interests of not just taxpayers but government too.

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