Committee of Public Accounts Press Notice

A STATEMENT FROM EDWARD LEIGH MP

CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

National Audit Office report: Helping individuals understand and complete their tax forms

The payment of tax, as one of only two certain things in life, should be made as simple as possible. This NAO report which should ultimately help people fill in their tax forms is to be therefore welcomed.

Underpaid taxes result in huge revenue loss to the public coffers each year. It is right that HMRC should therefore seek the best way to help reduce the level of unintentional errors that taxpayers make.

In order to understand some of the tax guidance, people need an A-level standard reading age. That’s simply too hard for many. And if HMRC can’t get its advice right in all cases, how are taxpayers expected to fill in their forms correctly? Guidance can also be hard to find, but I note that the Department is making efforts to improve its website and call handling.

It is surprising that the Department does not know how much tax is overpaid. It must work harder to find the errors that lead to overpayments and to determine the amount of money involved.

Notes for Editors

Requests for further comment from Edward Leigh should be made via Alex Paterson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 1589 or 07917 488 488.