Report asks: Is SA working well enough?

The report comes from the National Audit Office which is generally complimentary about the running of the self-assessment system.

Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, said: ‘The self-assessment system is providing an effective framework for managing the risks associated with the assessment and collection of tax.

‘The system has improved the administration of income tax by making assessment more straightforward and by allowing a more focused approach to compliance work.’

But the NAO also identified issues of concern, notably the Revenue’s own ability to assess whether the system is working well enough.

Sir John said the Revenue needed ‘better management information to assess the effectiveness of the system and to identify areas for improvement as they continue to develop their approach’.

Another source of concern is the 10% of taxpayers who fail to get their self assessment returns in on time.

The NAO has made it clear to the Revenue that it should be exploring the reasons why so many are late.

In April the Revenue revealed that 900,000 people has submitted their returns late.

The report was welcomed by CIOT President John Whiting, saying he agreed that self assessment has generally improved the administration of income tax.

But he added: ‘We believe that more needs to be done to reduce thenumber of boxes on the self-assessment form and simplify thetax calculation guide.’

Related reading