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ICAEW Announces £5,000 Prize for Best VAT Reform Proposal

Published by Prerana
Posted Date: May 22, 2024 , Modified Date: May 22, 2024

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is looking for research proposals to simplify the UK's complex VAT system. The winning proposal will be awarded a £5,000 prize and the opportunity to present at a VAT Conference in London in 2025.

According to the Institute, the goal of this proposal call is to develop practical and innovative ideas for VAT reform that will help taxpayers and businesses navigate the complexities of the system and promote economic growth and fiscal stability.

Why Is the UK VAT System So Complex?

The UK's VAT system is infamous for its complexity. It has many different rates and exceptions, which not only confuse taxpayers and policymakers but also create a lot of work for businesses to comply with. The VAT and Customs expert at ICAEW says this complexity stops small businesses from growing and causes silly arguments about things like whether Poppadoms are crisps or Jaffa cakes are biscuits.

A survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)'s Forum on Tax Administration found that the UK's VAT system requires more work from businesses than modern VAT systems in countries like Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia.

How Can Simplification Benefit the UK Economy?

Simplifying the VAT system could have many benefits for the UK economy. It would make it easier for businesses to follow the rules and reduce their costs. This would make the UK more attractive to foreign investors and create a better environment for businesses. It would also make the economy more efficient and help the government manage its money better.

Another important thing is to update the VAT system with new technology. This would help the government collect taxes more easily.

VAT Reform UK

The ICAEW suggests that authors should look at successful VAT changes in other countries. By studying international examples, researchers can suggest which changes can be implemented in the UK and how. This is pertinent, too, as the UK now has more control over its fiscal legislation following Brexit. These ideas could help create a VAT system that not only reduces the burden on businesses but also makes tax collection more efficient and effective.

So, ICAEW is seeking VAT Reform proposals in no more than 2000 words by 30 June 2024.


The ICAEW is asking for research proposals to help simplify the UK's VAT system. They want new ideas and to learn from other countries. The aim is to make the system easier, more efficient, and better for the economy. This is a great chance for researchers to help change VAT in the UK.

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