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This week's opinion: 19 September 2019

16 September 2019 / Andrew Hubbard
Issue: 4712 / Categories: Comment & Analysis
In praise of Brexit material on GOV.UK
I hesitate to write about Brexit. Not only is it difficult to remain impartial but, in a fast moving world, who knows what will happen in the few days between me writing this and you reading it? But it is worth commenting on the government’s communication about preparing for leaving. I have often been critical of the way that GOV.UK deals with tax, but I am impressed with the Brexit material on the site – not only the content but also the way it is organised. The ‘check what you need to do’ page ( is worth a look. It asks a series of simple questions and then offers a list of curated links pointing to the required detail. I’ve tested it a few times and it works well.
This is an impressive way of organising a material and shows what can be done. Of course it is easier to design something from scratch than to create something out of existing material and old IT systems, but it is still a considerable achievement.
My key question is whether a similar approach could be applied to the tax content on the HMRC and GOV.UK sites. The Office of Tax Simplification has made recommendations about guidance and HMRC has an ongoing guidance project so this is on the radar. The constraining factor will not be the technology but money. At the moment Brexit is all-consuming and when (if…) it all settles down I suspect there will be a real tightening of the purse strings for these sorts of projects. I hope not because, in the end, everybody benefits from clear guidance.
But meanwhile let’s acknowledge what has been achieved here.

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Issue: 4712 / Categories: Comment & Analysis
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