‘Faster working’ SA scheme attracts industry scepticism

Inland Revenue plans for ‘faster working’ on self-assessment this week met with scepticism from accountants who fear the Revenue is already overburdened.

From this month, self-employed business people whose tax returns are selected for enquiry by the Revenue will be offered the chance to take part in ‘faster working’.

The scheme is designed to get enquiries by local tax offices finished more quickly than in the past by setting an ‘agreed, flexible timetable’. The Revenue said faster working would mean ‘less anxiety and lower professional fees for taxpayers’.

Mark Lee, partner at BDO Stoy Hayward, said: ‘This is a worthy aim, make no mistake. But we have to ask whether the Revenue has the resources to undertake investigations in a shorter space of time. Faster working is going to place yet more pressure on it.’

Richard Shooter, head of the English ICA’s self-assessment monitoring group, said: ‘This has been done in consultation with accountants, but there is a lot of apprehension that it works in theory but not practice.’

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