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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
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

    Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

    £30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

    Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

    Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

    £25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

    Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

    Day In a Page

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea