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Revenue news

20 November 2005
Categories: News
Pre-Budget report; self assessment administration

Pre Budget report

The Chancellor will deliver the pre Budget report at 3.30pm on 5 December 2005.

Self assessment

Each year HMRC issue a Self Assessment Tax Return Guide, known as the 'Big Book', which is used by agents and HMRC staff. This bound book contains a copy of the SA tax return, all the additional pages and the notes and helpsheets. Two slimmer volumes deal with partnership and trust tax returns.
The Tax Faculty of the ICAEW has reported that HMRC are considering whether they still need to produce the bound book. The cost of distributing the guide is some £80,000 and HMRC are considering whether there might be a better option, e.g. CD-ROM or a website product (the helpsheets are available on the HMRC website). HMRC wonder if there might be a case to charge agents who wish to continue to receive paper versions, or whether the guides could be contracted out to a commercial firm.
In addition, HMRC are seriously considering whether they may stop issuing receipts for self assessment tax returns handed in to local tax offices and have been in discussion with the Working Together professional bodies about this. The problem, as HMRC see it, is that 'some agents are storing up returns which could have been sent in earlier and it does not seem right that customers are kept waiting at enquiry centres while the returns are checked for the purposes of giving a receipt. And the other side of the coin is that people who send in the returns by post do not get receipts so in a sense we are giving a better service to people who call in at the last minute than those who send in the return by post in good time'.
HMRC would like to know 'of any compelling reasons why the department should continue to give out receipts'. They are aware that it is perhaps the only piece of evidence to show that it was received on time if HMRC lose the returns, but say that it might be 'better putting the resource into beefing up our systems to make sure this does not happen'.
HMRC would like to know what agents think on both issues, and the Tax Faculty has agreed to forward readers' thoughts to HMRC. Please e-mail the Tax Faculty at Comments need to be received as soon as possible and the Faculty regrets that it is unable to acknowledge comments.


Categories: News
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