A global guide to filing

Paris_eiffel_tower Lord Carter of Coles, despite his unflappable demeanour, admitted that he felt like ‘Daniel being thrown into the lions’ den’ when he keynoted at the ICAEW’s e-filing conference last week.

Lord Carter has, of course, ruffled a few feathers in recent times after his review of HMRC’s online services. But he knew he was just a few minutes away from providing a fillip to the profession by stating that he was quite happy to look at the deadline recommendations again, if need be.

He also regaled the audience with tales of his visits around the world to examine the tax filing strategies of other authorities.

The Italians, he said, have compulsory online filing but there is a paper element to the filing as well ­ leaving a huge warehouse of paper that no one ever looks at. And while the Chinese don’t force online filing on anyone, you have to queue to file paper returns, which go ‘thousands deep’.

As for the French, as soon as Lord Carter arrived he was taken for a lunch overlooking the Seine. A similar situation has not occurred with HMRC, he pointed out. Yet.

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