"I am currently helping a pensioner who in the space of a few months was sent a tax rebate, then an overdue tax demand and then asked to make a payment on account.She is now owed several thousand pounds by HMRC, but the initial error stemmed from a mistake she made in filling in her tax return. This was compounded by another error when she did not understand how to account for tax HMRC was already collecting through her code.The whole affair has caused her untold stress.The difficulty is that as more people are forced to fill in self-assessment forms, there will inevitably be more mistakes. Yet HMRC is itself under financial strain and does not appear to have the resources to help those who need it.Advice services are springing up everywhere for pensions and investments, but I see no sign of government-sponsored help for those struggling to understand their tax.This lady was not a tax dodger, she was simply confused and could not afford to pay an accountant to sort out the form for her.
If this government and its successors plan to continue dragging ever more pensioners into self-assessment, then it must make sure HMRC has the resources and training to help those who struggle to understand its forms."
Sadly this plea will fall on deaf ears, as I noted wrt HMRC's Building Our Future strategy, the policy of HMRC and the government is for pensioners to be told to sod off!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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