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Five Years On

22 January 2003 / Keith M Gordon
Issue: 3891 / Categories: Comment & Analysis

KEITH GORDON MA, ACA, ATII charts the progress of self-assessment since its inception five years ago.

THE FIRST RETURNS under self assessment were due just under five years ago and the pre-self assessment régime with its charade of estimated assessments that were almost automatically appealed against seems a distant (if not quaint) memory.

Those of us who were around in the pre-self assessment days will remember the education workshops that the Inland Revenue held to inform us of the new system. This article focusses not on the rules as they were expected to apply back in 1996-97 but how they have been interpreted since. It also looks at some of the changes made to the mechanics of self assessment principally in Finance Act 2001.

When is a return late?

Until self assessment there were few controls ensuring that tax returns were submitted on time. In fact the statutory 30-day time limit was almost invariably ignored by taxpayers...

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