Self-Assessment: Tax 'is' taxing

According to recent research, a third of taxpayers in Britain and Northern Ireland found self-assessment (SA) forms were difficult to understand and therefore complete.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) revealed that 89 per cent of taxpayers would gladly welcome changes to the tax system to make it simpler.

Seven per cent of taxpayers apparently found the SA form so complicated that they were unable to file it on time.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) seems to be of little assistance, as the two guides it issues to help taxpayers calculate what they owe are also complicated.

John Cullinane, CIOT president, commented: "The forms and guides reflect how complex the UK tax system is. In order to simplify the SA forms and guides one first needs to make the system simpler and clearer. Without this any move to making the forms 'easier' could in fact lead to people getting their tax return wrong."

Although 67 per cent of taxpayers tried to complete the form themselves, 42 per cent of those said they found it either "very" or "fairly" difficult to understand if they were paying the correct tax rate.

Anyone who is confused about tax issues would be wise to visit their solicitors, as the government is currently cracking down on incorrectly declared tax.

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