Successive governments have promised to reduce business red tape, whilst doing nothing about it. In fact, with regard to the tax system, ever-greater numbers of taxes and ever greater complexity have increased burdens on business. This trend has been exacerbated by the tendency of governments to offload their costs on to businesses by turning firms into unpaid tax collectors.
Research into the costs of regulation is notoriously difficult. However, this study brings together the best work on the burden of tax compliance and administration and adds important new insights. In particular, this monograph shows the severely regressive nature of the costs of complying with the UK tax system – small firms suffer far more than large firms from the imposition of government bureaucracy related to tax collection.
The costs of complying with the tax system are higher in the UK than in many other countries. The authors show that this should not be the case, and propose ways of reducing the burden of tax bureaucracy. These include radical reforms, not just to the administration of the tax system, but also to the nature of the system itself.