Caroline Turnbull-Hall of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Richard Thomas have published Length of Tax Legislation as a Measure of Complexity (UK Office of Tax Simplification 2012).
Here is the abstract:
In his seminal Hardman lecture, Adam Broke pointed to the length of tax legislation, the language used, the drafting style and the diversity of taxes as all contributing to the complexity of the UK tax code.
To this list could also be added political pressures and policy initiatives, both of which impact on tax legislation.
In addition to our specific reviews, the Office of Tax Simplification (“OTS”) is analysing the underlying problem of complexity in the tax system. This paper focuses on the length of legislation, although it must be recognised that all the contributing factors are interlinked to a certain extent.
In 2009 it was reported that the UK tax code had exceeded that of India and, at 11,520 pages was the longest in the world. Many of us remember when the Butterworths/Tolley’s Yellow Tax Handbook (or the equivalent CCH Green Book) was a much more manageable two (or even one!) volumes, instead of the five volumes that there are today. The increasing length of UK tax legislation is often cited as indicating that the tax system is becoming more complex.
The aim of the work carried out by the OTS was to consider the extent to which length contributes to complexity. We also ascertained the actual length of the UK tax code and the increase in its length since the introduction of corporation tax in 1965.
This paper is to look at the length of legislation in more detail than just by reference to the size of Tolley’s Yellow and Orange Tax Handbooks (the “Yellow Book” and the “Orange Book” respectively), although these have been considered in some detail.
The paper will include analysis of:
Tags: Butterworths Orange Tax Handbook, Butterworths Yellow Tax Handbook, Caroline Turnbull-Hall, CCH Green Book, Complexity of legal information, Complexity of legal information systems, Complexity of legislation, Legislative complexity, Legislative information systems, Length of legislation, Office of Tax Simplification, Richard Thomas, Tax law information systems, Tax legislation, UK Office of Tax Simplification