Should we be allowed access to our income tax records?

Online accountants may be interested to learn that the government is considering allowing all taxpayers to access their tax records online.

The idea came from a public consultation on ways to make the personal taxation system simpler to use and understand. Another idea was to use information from banks and employers to supply pre-filled tax returns to those who file self-assessment returns. Furthermore, all taxpayers may receive a yearly tax statement in addition to their PAYE tax coding notice and P60 form.

The exchequer secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said the government doesn’t think HMRC provides enough information about the tax we pay.

The Irish Republic already allows individuals to access their tax records online and now the coalition wants to know if taxpayers in the UK would like a similar system. It would also like to know whether self-assessment taxpayers would like to receive a form with some information already filled in, a system that works well in Denmark.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury from the ACCA welcomed the proposals saying that many people will get a shock when they see income tax and National Insurance contributions added together. However, people without Internet access must also be able to access their records.

David Cameron is keen to improve the current income tax system and will soon be piloting real time information. This should put an end to out-of-date records and ensure everybody pays the right amount of tax at the right time. Over the last couple of years, millions of tax records have been reconciled incorrectly leading to taxpayers either receiving a rebate or a demand for underpaid tax.

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