Tuesday, August 16News For London

The Death of the Tax Return: blessed relief or nagging pain?


Image Courtesy of Phillip


Today HM Revenue and Customs bought in a new system to help self-employed taxpayers work out how much tax they owe, but opinion is divided over the change.

The Personal tax account is an entirely online system that will allow self assed tax payers to manage their payments more regularly online.

Tax expert Guy Bridger believes the changes are long overdue and that the old system was “a big panic for people who are self-employed”.

He said:

 “It’s going to make people’s lives easier. Yes it’s going to be more regular clicking on buttons hitting keypads and calculating things but it’s not rocket science to do these things. If it can be somewhat automated in the sense that it’s all more manageable and things can be assessed more easily then yes it just takes a great strain off people in their working life.”

But many are opposed to the changes. Writing in the Daily Mail today Steven Glover denounced the changes as a ‘ruse’ that will demand more of people’s time and will confuse those not familiar with internet technologies.

He said the changes will:

“cause the self-employed sleepless nights and extra worry — particularly those who do not feel at home on the internet and will not relish having to do their returns online.”

Although opinion remains divided many who manage their own taxes welcome the change. Far from adding extra burden to their tax accountancy, they feel that the new system will allow them to account as they go. The online system will enable those who are self-employed to keep a track of what they owe rather than being hit by a large annual sum.

Louise Willard is a self-employed hospitality and events manager. She is in favour of the changes to the system.

She Said:

“I think it’s a great idea. I like to be quite organised with things. With an online system you could be much more organised with it and after every job you could input it onto the system. It is going to save a lot of time at the end of the year; rather than trying to find your receipts, everything will already be on the system and you will know how much you owe.”

As with all changes, there will be those who complain. But as internet technologies increasingly influence all aspects of our lives perhaps the overhaul is long overdue. People want to manage their affairs electronically on the go; why should tax be any different.