Finance: A little something for the small people

Tax is one of those curiosities that is a dreary mystery to the general public, yet a source of apparently endless fascination and even fun to those who make it their trade. For the latter group, the run-up to a Budget is a time for speculation about the sorts of changes the Chancellor may make away from the main attraction of income tax rates and changes to duty on drinks and cigarettes.

However, even those folk are apt to admit that the system is overly complex. While that creates room for manoeuvre for those of their number who advise big corporations and wealthy individuals, it means many who cannot afford help give too much of their income to the Government.

Tackling such anomalies will be a priority for John Andrews, who took over as president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation yesterday, just as Simon McKie was handing over the reins of the Institute of Chartered Accountants' tax faculty to Anita Monteith. Mr Andrews, a partner with Coopers & Lybrand, is a specialist in the taxation of company directors and employees, but he wants to turn the spotlight on the plight of the less advantaged - not to ensure that they avoid tax, but to help them get some back. "I want to concentrate a lot of firepower on those people who can't afford tax advice," he says. He claims the Inland Revenue accepts that confusion in a number of areas has led it to hold money that it could give back to taxpayers. He hopes to work with the Revenue and consumer bodies in an effort to correct the situation.

While such initiatives might help right past wrongs, he is aware of the need to deal with the system. Here, he thinks there is an opportunity for Gordon Brown to continue the radical policies begun with granting greater independence to the Bank of England. If not in the forthcoming Budget, then in future ones, there is tremendous scope for bringing the income tax and social security systems closer together, on the grounds that National Insurance contributions represent a heavy additional tax burden for the lower paid.

The changing ways of working - under which more people are shifting to freelance or contractual arrangements - create a case for doing something about the rigorous distinctions between Schedule D, which covers the self- employed, and Schedule E, which deals with those who are employed and pay tax as they earnn

Roger Trapp

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

    Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test