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Why is the tax system so complicated?

The recent announcement of a 50% tax on banking bonuses has caused more confusion and unrest than even the government's worst critics could ever have imagined. It does now prompt the question, why is the UK tax system so complicated and does it really need to be that way?

The truth is that the tax system in the UK has evolved over many decades and in many ways it has been shaped by the activities of accountants and tax advisers. Historically we have seen instances where a misplaced comma or an ambiguous comment in tax legislation has literally blown open a new door to those looking to reduce their tax liabilities and find tax loopholes. As a consequence, the situation in the UK is becoming more and more complicated each year as the UK government looks to close as many tax loopholes as possible while accountants and tax advisers look to challenge new taxes and new regulations.

While various tax loopholes and tax efficient strategies will attract negative press comments, the vast majority are 100% legal and the blame is laid fairly and squarely at the door of the UK government - which spends hundreds of millions of pounds a year on financial and legal advice.

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