Letter – ‘Light touch’ at the revenue

Mr Shooter’s letter (‘Comment’, 4 June) raised a number of issues which are of concern to taxpayers, tax agents and the Inland Revenue.

Neither the profession nor the department has ever attempted to understate the scale of the change implicit in self-assessment. We all recognised that taxpayers would take some time to adapt and that both tax agents and the Revenue would inevitably get some things wrong as we bedded down the new arrangements.

That is why we set up close consultative arrangements and why we pledged to continue to operate penalties with common sense and discretion.

The light touch which is referred to is being applied in practice. As Mr Shooter says, we have a long tradition of working together to ensure the tax system works effectively while minimising costs for taxpayers and for the Revenue.

We want that relationship to remain and will continue to discuss the type of issues raised in the letter actively with the English ICA and others.

DA Smith, director of business operations, Inland Revenue, London WC2

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