Recent research commissioned on behalf of The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) reveals that a third of UK taxpayers find the self-assessment (SA) forms difficult to complete. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) issue two tax calculation guides to assist taxpayers. However, both of these are also complicated.
John Cullinane, CIOT President, says: “The forms and guides reflect how complex the UK tax system is. In order to simplify the SA forms and guides one first needs to make the system simpler and clearer. Without this any move to making the forms ‘easier’ could in fact lead to people getting their tax return wrong.”
Complexity creates a Hobson's choice for HMRC – the SA forms will either be complicated or inaccurate.
The research found that 67% of taxpayers polled complete the form themselves. 42% said they found it ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ difficult to understand whether they are paying the right amount of tax.
John Cullinane adds: “The CIOT welcomes the acknowledgment in the Budget of the need for simplification. We believe that HM Treasury and HMRC understand this and we wish to continue working with them to achieve this.”
The research was carried out on behalf of the CIOT by CommunicateResearch.
- Ends -
For press information contact Simon Goldie on 020 7245 4122 (direct line - 24 hours). Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
The poll also showed that:
74% of those questioned pay their taxes through their employer.
89% of people who were polled thought that the tax system should be simplified.
Just under half a million taxpayers (7%) failed to submit their self-assessment tax form on time. If every offender was issued the standard £100 fine for late submission, it would add up to just under £50 million.
CommunicateResearch interviewed a random sample of 1,000 income tax payers throughout Britain online from 23 February to 1 March 2007. The sample was drawn from a nationally representative sample of British adults for which quotas were set by age, gender, region and social grade.