Self assessment could be improved on the cheap

Since the start of internet filing only 0.1% of taxpayers able to submit self-assessment returns have actually used the facility.

Links: Self assessment security failureMore worryingly only 5% of ACCA members practising in tax had opted to file their returns via the internet rather than using the paper forms.

According to Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of tax at the ACCA, 40% of American tax-payers currently file their returns over the internet and there is a drive to double this percentage.

This is despite the fact that they pay a fee to do so, unlike in the UK where the software is provided free of charge.

One of his proposals is to give online tax filers a deadline of 31 October, one month after paper-based returns have to be submitted, if the Inland Revenue is to calculate the tax liability.

Currently the time limit for the Revenue to investigate self-assessment returns is 12 months after the final filing deadline of 31 January. Reducing this to nine months would in his opinion encourage more taxpayers to file online.

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