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Online filing 'hard to imagine' for some

13 January 2009
Categories: News , Online , Admin
HMRC study highlights concerns of pro-paper filers

Barriers to filing online with HMRC tend to be either 'perceptual or practical', according to a survey commissioned by the department.

The newly published results of the Ipsos Mori poll shows that many of the taxpayers who favour paper filing do so because of the familiarity of the process – one that they also find sufficiently efficient.

The same people are concerned that using the web for submitting tax documents may require a significant adjustment period without providing substantial advantages.

The study also found that those who have never used online filing have difficulty imagining how the process works in practice, and how similar it would be to the paper forms with which they feel comfortable.

There is also the matter of security: many pro-paper taxpayers are concerned that online services in general may not be fully reliable or secure, and they assume that this will also apply to the HMRC website.

Some Revenue ‘customers’ feel that the process of registering for the department’s online service and becoming familiar with the site is too much pressure on top of having to comply to tax deadlines.

The Ipsos Mori survey results show, however, ‘fairly high’ levels of awareness among taxpayers of the option to file online.

Many people automatically assume that the web service is likely offer a range of potential benefits, including saving time in submitting forms, and being able to avoid using an unreliable postal service.

But there is less awareness among self assessment ‘customers’ of the specific benefits offered by online filing - and none of the online service’s possible advantages do not themselves motivate taxpayers determined to switch to online filing.

Benefits are expected to be ‘fairly minor’, and enthusiasm is also tempered by concerns about security lapses, according to the poll results.

Categories: News , Online , Admin
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