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Tax law process needs 'overhaul'

The way that changes to tax law are implemented needs to be improved.

The call has come from the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT).

The CIOT wants a new Parliamentary joint committee on taxation to be set up so that better scrutiny can be made of tax legislation.

Drawing its members from MPs and the House of Lords, the committee would examine proposed tax laws put forward by the government, reviewing their implications and producing a report and recommendations.

In the CIOT's view, such a committee would help to cut down on the number of badly put together tax laws.

Vincent Oratore, the CIOT's president, said: "The way tax law is made in the UK is deeply flawed. There is not enough expert scrutiny and there is insufficient parliamentary time to consider properly the effect that changes will have in practice.

"We have a historic and distinctive parliamentary system with traditions and conventions that need to be taken into account. But in this area I believe we can learn something from the Americans, who have a well resourced Joint Committee on Taxation which enables members of both Houses of Congress to play a meaningful and constructive role in the making of tax law.

"The primary responsibility of a UK Joint Committee on Taxation would be to review proposed tax law put forward by the government and to think through its policy and implementation implications, before issuing reports containing detailed analysis and recommendations. Such a committee would enhance the role of backbench MPs in this important area, as well as making greater use of the tax expertise in the House of Lords."