Revenue fails to cure self-assessment faults.

The Inland Revenue has come under fire from ACCA this week after research found record levels of self-assessment system failure.

According to ACCA’s fourth annual self-assessment survey, problems in the Revenue system were as high as the record levels found in last year’s results.

Since self-assessment was launched in 1997, the system has been criticised for its over complicated forms and statements and high processing times.

The survey found 95% of the 550 UK practitioners quizzed had experienced problems because of errors on their part or Revenue systems failures.

Additionally, 70% of accountants reported they had to spend extra time on client self-assessment because of errors – with more than half of those accountants writing off their costs.

Another 60% had experienced problems because the systems had crashed.

In addition, 51% received incorrect payment demands and a similar number found staff were unable to answer technical queries. Half of respondents found the Revenue lost forms.

ACCA’s head of taxation, Chas Roy-Chowdhury, said: ‘The problems with the system are almost as great today as they were last year when the problems hit their peak.’

The Revenue said: ‘Introducing a new system as large as self-assessment is bound to result in some errors but we have worked hard to ensure these were minimised and put right as soon as possible.’

It added: ‘The ACCA survey, states a slight improvement in the administration of the system. We recognise there is always room for improvement. The self-assessment system and forms, including the tax return and tax calculation guide, are under constant review. We value the opinions of parties with an interest in self-assessment.’

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