Taxman reveals rising cost of self-assessment

The report revealed that the cost of self-assessment per taxpayer in 1998/99 was £62.82, compared with £61.97 the previous year.

And as well as a rising cost burden, Revenue officials also acknowledge that they are conscious of how unpopular some initiatives had been with taxpayers.

‘We are aware that customer satisfaction does not show how effective we are in minimising burdens on the citizen and obscuring the complexity of government from the citizen. We are considering what other sorts of indicators we should use to demonstrate success in delivering the government’s success,’ the report said.

But the taxman has made ‘significant progress’ in minimising and reducing the burdens of taxation on business and individuals, according to the report.The Business with Government Initiative which provided joined-up self service information with other government departments contributed to the savings.

Plans to simplify tax and national insurance contributions to reduce the administrative burden on employers; the review of Double Taxation Relief for multinational companies; the charity tax review; and the Tax Law Rewrite project were also used to illustrate how the taxman made the tax system more accessible and easier to use.

Tax experts labelled the claims as ‘debatable’. English ICA tax faculty technical manager Frank Haskew said: ‘It may be the case that these initiatives have worked but there are other things being introduced which work the other way – IR35 for example. The report needs almost to be audited before people will take it seriously.’

Whitehall denies WFTC U-turn

Related reading