Taxation: Self-assessment:Written question - 23775

(Sheffield Central)
Asked on: 22 January 2016
HM Treasury
Taxation: Self-assessment
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the (a) cost to and (b) effect on small businesses and self-employed workers of the Government's plans to move from annual to quarterly digital tax reporting by 2020.
Answered by: Mr David Gauke
Answered on: 01 February 2016

The Government committed to transforming the tax system at the March 2015 Budget. The aim is to create a system that is more effective, more efficient and easier for taxpayers based around new digital accounts.

Instead of an onerous tax return, once a quarter businesses will update HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) from their digital records and, in most cases, little or no further entry of information will be needed.

This does not mean quarterly tax returns. Instead, this is about making life easier for businesses – saving them time and money. These changes are a central part of a package of reforms that will save businesses £400m in administrative burdens. I also refer the honourable Member to my response of 11 January 2016 (with references 20876 and 21032).

Many taxpayers have told HMRC that they want more certainty over their tax bill and access to an in-year picture of their tax position. These reforms will make it easier for business to understand how much tax they owe, giving them far more certainty over their tax position, helping them budget, invest and grow.

We will consult widely on how the new system should operate, and invite businesses to test the new tools and services, providing feedback ahead of rollout.

We are also introducing these reforms gradually – not phasing them in fully until 2020, because we know how important it will be to give taxpayers time to adapt.

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