Today, the government launched the Office of Tax Simplification to help reduce the growing complexity of the UK's tax regime.
The OTS will do what it says on the tin - simplify the tax system - by looking at two key areas.
First, it'll conduct a wholesale review of small business taxation - including tackling the tricky IR35 that allows people to set up their own companies inorder to minimise NI contributions and income tax, while paying themselves in dividends. But hopefully it will also look at how to tax smaller businesses on a cash flow basis - something that would strip out enourmous amounts of complexity.
Second, the OTS will take a good hard look at the 400 plus reliefs and allowanes that permeate the tax system. The OTS will be looking to scrap obscure, anachronistic or narrow reliefs in an effort to make a modest beginning in paring back the masses of tax law.
The OTS is a good innovation - given the need to improve the competitiveness and predictability of our tax system, the OTS is likely to have a really important role in simplifying the vast stock of complex tax code.
By focusing first on small businesses, the OTS has an opportunity to strip away the administrative and compliance burdens they currently face.
The key test will be the OTS’s ability to work effectively with business to make substantial and visible progress in reducing complexity and enhancing competitiveness.
But more importantly, the OTS should ensure that simplification isn't an ends, but a means to improving the competitiveness and predictibility of the tax system.
Cynics might question the value of yet another independent 'Office' based out of the Treasury. Business will be hoping that the OTS gets to work as soon as possible.