HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Few Understand Tax

HMRC published the results of a survey "PAYE Online: PAYE and NI in a digital age" on 1 May (although the report states March), which noted that employees are not engaged enough with their personal tax affairs.

Seemingly "few fully understand how their tax is calculated".

That should not come as a surprise to anyone!

The report notes that people (the word "customer" is used liberally throughout) do not generally recognise their role in managing their own tax, and feel it is some other party’s responsibility even when they have faced a problem.
HMRC concluded that online accounts have the potential to make a positive change, helping to create transparency in the personal tax system and encourage employees take responsibility for their own affairs.
Maybe so, only if the online accounts are accurate and easy to use; oh and only if all taxpayers have access to the internet.

 Here is a summary of the key findings:

1. Individual knowledge of how tax works is limited. Whilst there is basic knowledge, few fully understand how their tax is calculated, what would make it change and how it would change.

2. Individuals are not engaged with their personal tax. Because tax is deducted at source, those paying PAYE typically see it as something dealt with by their employer or pension provider and, as a result, do not feel any need to engage with it. It is something that happens ‘ to them’ .

3. PAYE taxpayers do not generally recognise their role and responsibilities in managing their tax. Even when they have faced a problem or issue with their tax, they felt it was someone else’s responsibility to manage it (e .g. HMRC, employer or pension provider).

4. Individuals do not feel equipped to deal with issues concerning their tax. They are confused by having responsibility for something t hey are not directly involved in and do not fully understand. This is heightened by unfamiliarity with the system and feeling overwhelmed when/if they do engage.

5. The concept of an online tax account is appealing. Individuals would welcome the reassurance that easy access to this information would bring and see online as being the natural platform for this.

6. Individuals have a clear idea of what they want from an on line tax account, particularly: education about their tax and how tax works, a facility to check their details, and the opportunity to interact with HMRC digitally.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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