Treasury Committee launches new inquiry into the fundamental principles of tax policy

24 November 2010

In the last month, the OECD in Paris and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in London have each published important reports into the fundamentals of tax policy.

The OECD reports that the tax system should distort economic incentives as little as possible and that "corporate taxes are the most harmful type of tax for economic growth, followed by personal income taxes and then consumption taxes, with recurrent taxes on immovable property being the least harmful tax."

The Mirrlees Review, published by the IFS, argues that the tax system should be considered as a whole with the benefit system, seek neutrality, and achieve progressivity as efficiently as possible.

The Office of Tax Simplification has revealed that there are over 1,000 reliefs in the UK tax system.

The Treasury Committee has decided to launch its own inquiry into the principles which should underpin the tax system, and invites written evidence on the following points:

  • What are the key principles which should underlie tax policy?
  • How can tax policy best support growth?
  • To what extent should the tax system be structured to support other specific policy goals?
  • How much account should be taken of the ease and efficiency with which a particular tax can be imposed and collected?
  • Are there aspects of the current tax system which are particularly distorting?


Notes on Submission of Written Evidence

Written evidence should be in Word or rich text format—not PDF format—and sent by e-mail to  The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from. The deadline is 12 noon on Friday 14 January 2011. Submissions should be no longer than 3000 words. Submissions should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Further Information

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