Simplifying the UK tax system for small businesses - the Office of Tax Simplification’s

If you’ve ever thought the UK tax system is too complicated, you’re not alone. It’s a huge frustration for many accountants - and I’m no exception! In fact, it’s such a thorny issue that in 2010 an organisation was established to provide independent advice to the government on simplifying the UK tax system.

The remit of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) is to reduce the burden of tax compliance for both businesses and individual taxpayers and it recently presented the government with a series of recommendations on the subject of small company taxation. I was very pleased to be part of the consultative committee that helped to compile the report, which is based on research conducted with small company owners, industry bodies, accountants and other key business advisers.

The report's recommendations included simplifying VAT issues like VAT MOSS and making improvements to tax administration processes. The report also recommended further research into a 'Sole Enterprise Personal Assets' (SEPA) model, which would allow sole traders to designate certain assets, such as their home, as 'non-business' assets, in order to ensure that they could not be seized in the event of the business being sued.

Of course, these are only recommendations at the moment and may not necessarily be put into place. However, with the government’s forthcoming introduction of the Make Tax Digital initiative, I hope at least some of the recommended simplifications will be implemented in the near future.

Keen to find out more about the Office of Tax Simplification’s recommendations? You can download the full report from

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