Abolition of annual income self-assessment deadline makes waves

One of the announcements in the Budget that caused quite a stir was the proposal to abolish the annual tax return deadline.   

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has expressed concern that scrapping the self-assessment deadline will create problems and increase costs for taxpayers, as well as leading to additional work for accountants. 

The idea behind abolishing the deadline is that taxpayers would file information throughout the year, which would enable HMRC to calculate tax throughout the year. ACCA carried out a survey asking the following questions: 

•Whether the change was a simplification.

•If it would result if more work for accountants.

•If they believed HMRC’s systems could cope

•Whether clients would be able to provide the information needed, and who would benefit from the move. 

Accountants apparently responded strongly to this survey. According to the Head of Technical Advisory for ACCA, Glenn Collins, there is considerable concern that while the idea might sound appealing, it will simply not work in practice. He added that it creates additional, unnecessary burdens for taxpayers and relies on HMRC’s IT system being able to deal with those additional pressures. He noted that there has been concern that no consultation has taken place as to how this might work for the accountancy and tax professions. 

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