TaxAdministrationSelf-assessment compromise on the horizon

Self-assessment compromise on the horizon

Sources close to talks with the taxman say a compromise is possible

The battle to reverse HM Revenue & Customs’ plans to implement new
self-assessment filing deadlines could end in a compromise, according to sources
close to talks with the taxman.

Following the furore caused by the Carter Review, which recommended shifting
self-assessment filing deadlines forward and was accepted by HMRC, the
accounting institutes have worked behind the scenes to persuade the taxman to at
least undertake a consultation on the subject.

Discussions between the institutes and HMRC were opened following grave
concerns voiced by the profession that bringing the deadlines forward by several
months would force an unmanageable workload upon practitioners and lead to
workflow and staffing issues.

‘HMRC is listening and is saying we need to talk about this,’ said Francesca
Lagerberg, chairman of the tax faculty at the ICAEW.

Some kind of deferment or a proper consultation were likely options, she
added.
Other sources suggested that HMRC was close to deferring the decision to
implement the new deadlines from 2008, however, discussions are at a ‘delicate
stage’.

Lord Carter’s review of HMRC’s online service strategy, launched on Budget
day, caused controversy as industry experts described his proposals to move the
deadline as ‘out of his remit’.

The review also recommended HMRC should aim for ‘universal electronic
delivery’ of tax returns from business and ‘IT-literate’ individuals by 2012,
but only if efficient online filing systems were in place and ‘fully tested’.

Lord Carter exclaimed that there was a general acceptance of HMRC online
services.

Read the Carter Review at
www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2006/carter-review.pdf

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