Gordon should go for it now

After all, the chancellor is the country’s most senior financial manager, in charge of annual revenues of Pounds 398bn, expenditure of Pounds 394bn, and an economy generating Poundsd 800bn in gross domestic product – and he cannot fill in his own self-assessment form.

The lesson here is simple, and one that Brown should take on board and discuss with Inland Revenue chairman Nick Montague. Self-assessment forms are too complicated and require urgent simplification.

Montague has said he is ready to undertake such a reform when it is necessary, but the 9 million people who currently fill in the form every year would like some action now.

And the prudent Mr Brown may find he could save a few hundred quid in accountancy fees.

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