Tax Statements

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Tax Statements are a statement that will be sent ammually to each UK taxpayer detailing the payments of Income Tax and National Insurance. It is due for introduction in 2014.

On 25 January 2012 Ben Gummer introduced a Ten Minute Rule motion calling for the Chancellor of the Exchequer "to issue annually to each payer of Income Tax and National Insurance a statement detailing the payments made in the most recent tax year and a breakdown of the areas of government spending on which the payments are to be spent". When introducing his Bill, Gummer claimed that “It is a measure of how confounded our democracy has become that this simple, easy and cheap idea may be seen as in any way radical. We would not for a moment think of paying a bill in a supermarket or setting up a mobile phone direct debit if we did not receive an itemised receipt in exchange. Yet for tax, the largest outgoing for most people, we get nothing—no total account of how much we have paid and no detail of where it has gone.” Opposing the Bill, Labour MP Chris Bryant argued that “there are far more important things that we should change about how expenditure is revealed to taxpayers".[1]

Gummer’s proposal was favorably received by the press. The Sun referred to his ‘brilliant idea’, welcoming the proposal that taxpayers would be able to ‘make an informed judgment about what happens to our money.'[2] The paper made Gummer its Westminster ‘hero of the week’.[3] Leo Mckinstry in the Daily Express praised Gummer’s ‘brilliant proposal’ and argued that ‘Such a document would transform our politics.’[4] Explaining his idea in the Wall Street Journal, Gummer claimed that tax statements would “strengthen democracy.”[5] Downing Street welcomed Gummer’s proposal. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: “No doubt there would be lots of practicalities that would have to be looked at. But the principle is a good one.”[6]

The proposal attracted much attention and quickly won the support of the Chancellor and of Number 10.[6] Two nights before the 2012 Budget was released, a statement by the Treasury suggested that this proposal was to be included into Treasury policy.[7][8][9] George Osborne confirmed this on Wednesday 21 March 2012 as he revealed his Budget to the House of Commons, calling it "an excellent idea".[7] The TaxPayers' Alliance subsequently honoured Gummer as their 'Pin-Up of the Month'.[10]

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