Tax returns to be quarterly for landlords and self-employed

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

hmrc-logo-sml  In March of this year David Gauke, Financial Secretary to the Treasury under the Coalition Government announced that as part of the Government’s vision to modernise the tax system, “tax returns will be replaced by digital tax accounts for millions of individuals and businesses. They will bring together each taxpayer’s details in one place, just like an online bank account, so they can register for new services, update their information, and understand quickly and easily what they need to pay — without ever having to complete a tax return again”.

All well and good and they estimated that some five million small businesses and the first ten million individuals would have access to a secure, personalised digital tax account by early 2016.

This is an ambitious target, but we have known about this for some time. Details are now becoming known and, in the Autumn Statement, measures were set out requiring self-employed and landlords earning more than £10,000 a year to report online “at least quarterly”, rather than annually.

It is felt that this will place a very heavy burden on the people involved and the concern is whether there will be sufficient support.

As we commented on the Autumn Statement, there is an assumption that those involved will be computer literate and yet HMRC’s own research shows that some 60% of self-employed tax payers will struggle. All of this comes at a time when HMRC are performing abysmally when it comes to supporting employers – 50% of calls answered speaks for itself. And now the “apps” is being used and seen as supporting those who have to have to report to HMRC.

The chancellor has pledged £1.3bn to this end.

Call me a doubting Thomas, but I see challenging times are ahead with a lot of tears.

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