'Simplification in tax forms needed'

A report has claimed that self-return tax forms are too complicated and should be made simpler to complete.

The Committee of Public Accounts has found that forms produced by HM Revenue and Customs are not simple enough to fill in.

Conservative MP Edward Leigh, chairman of the committee, said that hundreds of millions of pounds was being over and underpaid as a result of the confusion.

"Too many people are unintentionally making mistakes, resulting in an estimated underpayment of tax each year of some £330 million," he commented.

However, it was "puzzling" that no one had tried to work out how much tax is being overpaid.

The report also said that the department's website is like a "maze", which adds to the confusion and frustration felt by people struggling to fill in their forms.

Solicitors in Northern Ireland can offer advice on completing self-assessment tax forms and other tax issues.

Some £35 million each year is spent by HM Revenue and Customs on producing and distributing printed materials to explain how the tax system works.

The Committee of Public Accounts is made up of MPs and advisors and is appointed by the House of Commons to examine public accounts "as they feel fit".

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