Public warned to budget for tax bills

As the 31 January self-assessment deadline looms, anecdotal evidence points to unprepared people using loans to service their tax bills and exacerbating their Christmas debt.

John Whiting, president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said the scenario was due to the amount of expenditure people are faced with at this time of year.

‘People have to budget for tax, and I’m afraid that people don’t budget for tax,’ he said

According to some those most prone to being forced to borrow are small business owners.

PKF partner Peter Penneycard said the Revenue ‘considers tax paid late as an unsecured loan to the taxpayer and sees no reason why the taxpayer shouldn’t borrow from his or her bank so that they can pay up on time.

‘It’s probably cheaper and less hassle to borrow from the bank than from the Revenue.’

Meanwhile, the Revenue this week released its latest figures for self-assessment returns ahead of the deadline. It said 5,990,236 have so far come back, some 65.3% of the total number issued, compared to 6,033,378 (66.4%) last year.

Meanwhile it has received 53,032 returns that have been filed online, compared to 39,290 this time last year.

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