Sunday, April 13, 2003

Internet Self Assessment

Delighted to see today that the Inland Revenue are actively encouraging people to send their Self Assessment tax returns electronically. The "notice to complete" form should have arrived for several million people over the weekend and the first thing it talks about is sending the return electronically. I was also pleased to see that the IR have extended the deadline for when you must file to allow tax to be collected from your pay check (which used to be tied to the end of September "calculation" deadline) to the end of December. Watching the returns come in electronically, there were still two very clear peaks last tax year, one in September and one in January. This may have the effect of moving that first peak to December given that the online forms calculate your tax anyway, so September was always a red herring deadline. Or, with a bit of luck, it will spread the load so that tax forms start to arrive in bulk once everyone has their P60s and interest statements (things which often come out around June or July). Last year, volume was up 4 or 5 fold. This year, a similar increase would take the IR to between 1 and 1.5 million returns. About achievable with some good press on the service and a few more service allied to it now available, such as child benefit and tax credits. One million would be around 25% take-up - a figure that no other service has achieved to my knowledge, so a good place to aim at.

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