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Pay tax promptly, win a prize?

Good to see another CIOT idea may come to fruition.

Today’s Times reports that the Government’s ‘nudge unit’ (officially the Behavioural Insight Team) are recommending that self-assessment taxpayers who pay their tax bill early are entered into a prize draw with a chance of winning £100,000.

The idea is this would save money by spreading the pressure on HMRC’s servers which currently experience a huge surge in the final few days ahead of the online filing deadline of Jan 31st.

A government source is quoted in The Times as saying: “Though nothing similar has been tried on a national basis before, 15 London local authorities have recently introduced a prize draw to encourage people to pay council tax by direct debit. With a £25,000 prize, they realised savings of £345,000 a year.”

A good idea? We think so. In fact a couple of years ago, during meetings on the Carter Review, colleagues of mine at the CIOT suggested just this to HMRC. At the time the Revenue were wary and told us they didn’t think government could do this sort of thing (though we did point out that the DVLA in Swansea were trying something similar), so the idea has been gathering dust.

Hopefully with a bit of a nudge from the nudge unit this imaginative proposal will now finally see the light of day, and save HMRC resources that can be put to better use.

George Crozier
CIOT External Relations Manager
Tuesday 10 January 2012


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