TaxPersonal TaxRevenue hopes plan will boost e-filing

Revenue hopes plan will boost e-filing

With just under 34,000 tax returns filed electronically to date, the Inland Revenue is set to launch an initiative designed to boost the disappointing take up of self-assessment filing.

The initiative, called Tax Central and produced in partnership with software provider Digita, is to be unveiled in time for the new tax year.

The concept would simplify the process of e-filing self-assessment returns, amid fears the current system may put off customers because it is too complicated.

Official figures showed just 33,874 self-assessment returns have been filed electronically ahead of the 31 January deadline – although 123,588 taxpayers have registered to file returns online.

A spokesperson for the Revenue told AccountancyAge.comthat it could not estimate the final number that would file online, but could only say how many had registered for the service.

The Revenue’s electronic business department, headed by programme director Terry Hawes, hoped 300,000 taxpayers would register to file electronically in the first year.

With only 34,000 taxpayers using the service so far, just 0.3% of the 9.1 million people who registered for self-assessment are using it, compared to the US where 20% of taxpayers file returns online.

Jeremy Rihll, Digita director, said: ‘The number of registered e-filers is disappointing, but the Revenue has a solid base to work from.’

The new initiative came as Tory ministers attacked slow progress made in bringing government services online following cabinet office minister Ian McCartney’s assertion that business transactions with Customs & Excise would go online in March followed by the Revenue in April.

The government gateway for business registration and enrolment for online services for the agencies goes live tomorrow.

Revenue offices around the country will be extending their opening hours to help customers hand in their self-assessment forms and payments, and to assist with any last minute enquiries.

For a full list of local office opening hours click here.

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