Pioneering the digital Personal Tax Return

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HM Revenue & Customs is pioneering the digital Personal Tax Return

Last updated on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Written by Kyra Thompson

Going digital could now happen a lot sooner than anticipated. In a bid to modernise the current Personal Tax Return system, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have announced that the progression to move this process entirely online will be introduced by April 2016. Millions of taxpayers will have the option to open their own digital tax account and complete their Personal Tax Return online. The transition to digital processes often faces issues and errors so what can you expect from the digital Tax Return and what challenges could you face by taking your tax return online?

When all of the changes have been introduced, you may find that you need the help of a specialist more than ever. By using the tax experts at Churchill Knight & Associates Ltd, you can guarantee that your Personal Tax Return will be completed accurately. You can rest assured that your accounts will be in safe hands when the planned changes set by HMRC come into effect.  

With more than 86% of Personal Tax Returns currently submitted online, HMRC claim this new fully integrated system will eliminate the build-up of overdue tax and refunds owed at the end of each financial year.

Below, we highlight both the positives and negatives of the new digital tax system. Read on to find out how this change could affect you and how we can help to alleviate the painful paperwork involved with a Personal Tax Return.

Links to Banks

The new digital tax system will allow personal bank accounts to be automatically linked up to your HMRC account by 2018. This means that it will now pick up any interest which is classed income, meaning you don’t have to worry about remembering to record it yourself.

Real Time Information

HMRC will be introducing Real Time Information (RTI) so that all taxpayers can check how much tax they owe and how it is calculated. Furthermore, if any tax is owed this will also be viewable along with various options on how to pay securely.

Virtual assistant and webchat

Due to recent criticism HMRC has received with regards to telephone call waiting times, this new online chat system aims to provide instant help to any taxpayers who are having difficulties with their online tax return. HMRC believe that this will speed up the process by providing support to anyone that requires it.

Pay taxes as and when you like

Unlike the old Personal Tax system, HMRC will now allow tax to be paid more frequently throughout the year, should this be a monthly or quarterly payment. This digital process aims to ease the last minute rush and build-up of filing Tax Returns before the deadline whilst also reducing the waiting time to speak to an assistant if taxpayers face problems online. This means that taxpayers will be able to make more frequent payments and allow them to plan for their tax expenses.

However, the new digital tax submission platform may not be for everyone. It has been noted that millions of taxpayers are concerned about the impending changes and how it could affect them. It is believed that it will expose a new set of problems leading to many finding this change a daunting prospect.

Possible errors could be overlooked

Like any new system going live, it can expose a series of problems and issues. The worrying thought is that early on teething problems may lead to errors in the platform and incorrect information on Personal Tax Returns being overlooked. Along with this, the fear of data getting lost or misplaced can amount to further complications with Tax Returns.

More frequent submissions required

From 2018, self-employed individuals and landlords will have to update their online tax account every three months. This quarterly update will increase the administrative burden for taxpayers who will now face four deadlines per year as opposed to the one deadline they currently have to meet. This could result in additional stress for taxpayers and become an arduous and time consuming task. Using a Personal Tax Specialist could help to alleviate this stress and burden from you.

Taxpayers are responsible for accuracy

Taxpayers will have total control over their digital submissions. With this, they are responsible for overall accuracy. As some of the information will be automatically filed by HMRC, the taxpayer will be required to check that all information is up-to-date and correct. However, we are all guilty of skipping over the fine detail and assuming prepopulated information must be correct. If this is the case and you mistakenly submit inaccurate tax information, you may be subject to a fine from HMRC or worse, tax evasion accusations. It is crucial to ensure all information is correct and it may be best to seek help from a specialist or a contractor accountant.  

Trusted helpers have limitations

HMRC have introduced a new system for taxpayers to have a “digitally savvy friend” to assist them with completing their tax return. Although this could be deemed a good idea for those not familiar with the digital era, individuals in general are private and protective over their financial affairs, leaving this concept to be somewhat flawed and unsuitable to many people.

Internet access is essential

Paper submissions will eventually become redundant as HMRC make way for the digitalised Tax Return process to come into full effect. This means that all taxpayers will have to ensure they have access to the internet on a regular basis to check and submit their tax information. This could become problematic for individuals who do not have a home computer or internet access. HMRC claims that in this case, telephone filing will be provided for all individuals who cannot get online. However, with the poor reputation held by HMRC, taxpayers may be concerned that the process could be slower than ever before.

The fear of hacking

Experienced con artists carrying out fraudulent activity is a major threat when inputting any banking information online, never mind filing a Tax Return on your private and confidential accounts. There have already been various occasions where innocent individuals have been fooled. Fraudsters are hacking the online accounts and claiming for repayments to be paid into a separate account that they then withdraw from. By using a Personal Tax Specialist such as Churchill Knight, you can be assured that your account will be in capable hands. As experts in their field, our Personal Tax team will submit your return using their own secure Personal Tax platform, meaning it will be free from any fraudulent activity which tends to be infiltrated though the main HMRC system.

By displaying both the positive and negative issues of an exclusively digital service, it is clear to see how various matters may affect many taxpayers. To ensure all tax affairs are submitted correctly to HMRC and to remove your concerns and doubts about accuracy, it may be best to enlist the help of a specialist. Not only will you have peace of mind that your accounts will be in the hands of an expert, but also it will free up your time and remove the administrative burden and headache of having to remember impending deadlines.

Churchill Knight & Associates Ltd has a specialist Personal Tax Team who can take care of the administration tasks to ensure accurate completion of your Personal Tax Return. For a one off annual fee, you can be sure that all deadlines will be met and that your information will be submitted in accordance with the HMRC guidelines.

Speak to a specialist now for more information about joining our services so that you don’t need to worry about these. Simply call 01707 871610 (option 6) or email our expert team on to find out more.

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