HM Treasury

Taxation, work and welfare

Office of Tax Simplification

The Chancellor and Exchequer Secretary launched the Office of Tax Simplification on 20 July 2010 to provide the Government with independent advice on simplifying the UK tax system. The Office has been established as an independent Office of the Treasury and will draw together expertise from across the tax and legal professions, the business community and other interested parties. Rt Hon Michael Jack and John Whiting have been appointed to lead the Office on an interim basis.

The Chancellor George Osborne said:

“The previous Government took a complex tax system and made it even worse. A decade of meddling and intervening has made the tax affairs of millions of families and businesses across the UK extremely complicated. We need to sort out this mess.

"Two years ago I promised to create the Office of Tax Simplification. Today, we’re delivering on that promise. With its independent, expert advice it will be a permanent force for a simpler tax system. 

“Simpler, more competitive taxes will help us show the world that Britain is open for business.”

Michael Jack 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. Simplification in a complex world is a real challenge but it's one that has to be addressed if the tax system is not to hinder the economy's ability to grow."

John Whiting 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."

Who we are

Michael Jack and John Whiting have been appointed as the Chair and Tax Director to lead the Office on an interim basis, and will work on a part time, voluntary basis. They are supported by a small secretariat including tax experts from within HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the Treasury and external secondees from the tax and legal professions.

What we do

The Office has been established to provide advice to the Chancellor on simplifying the UK tax system, with the objective of reducing compliance burdens on both businesses and individual taxpayers. Full details about the Office are set out in its framework document.

The Chancellor has initially asked the Office to take forward two reviews, which cover tax reliefs and small business tax simplification (including IR35).

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