Despite attempts by Revenue & Customs to halt the fall in the number of
people filling in tax returns, there remains £1.1bn of outstanding income tax
from late returns.
In a report on the filing of self assessment income-tax returns, the National
Audit Office said the Revenue had ‘stemmed the fall’ in the number of late
returns, but pointed out there were still 1.1 million returns outstanding at the
end of July 2004.
The report said the department was aiming to increase the percentage of
returns filed on time to 93% by 2008. To achieve this, the Revenue has
simplified returns for taxpayers with simple financial affairs and moved a
further 1.5 million taxpayers onto the shortened return to simplify filing.
Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, said that simplifying the self-assessment
return process would reduce overheads and make it easier for taxpayers to file
Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of tax at ACCA, said that in an attempt to boost
returns coming in the department was shifting its focus from punishing late
filers to rewarding those who file early.
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