Tax Man Wants To Bin Paper Returns To Save Money

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Expats expecting to file a paper self-assessment tax return will have to go online as HM Revenue & Customs has scrapped automatically sending out the document to save money.

Around 500,000 taxpayers declare their income and capital gains taxes on paper returns each year that must be filed by October 31.

HMRC wants them to move online to complete digital returns, but taxpayers can still ask for a hard copy return if they wish to do so.

The online filing deadline is 60 days later, on January 31.

Any tax owed must still be paid by January 31, however the return is filed.

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Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services said: “Most customers manage their tax affairs online. It’s easy, secure and available 24 hours a day. Customers can also sign up for email alerts and online messaging. It doesn’t even have to be done all in one go – they can stop, save what they’ve done, and pick up where they left off later.

Unnecessary waste

“We are working hard to stop the use of unnecessary resources which have an environmental impact; that’s why we’re reducing the use of paper as much as possible.

“Digitisation remains an HMRC priority but we’re still committed to giving taxpayers the ability to choose what’s best for them, so those who want to file a paper return can still do so.”

These policy change is part of a larger HMRC initiative to reduce unnecessary paper with annual tax summaries now also digital through Personal Tax Accounts.

The summaries of what PAYE taxpayers have paid were posted to 22 million people last year.

Paper will also be reduced when HMRC stops providing more than three million blank P45s and 11 million P60s in April.

HMRC interest rates cut

Meanwhile, HMRC interest rates for late payments will be slashed following the Bank of England interest rate reduction to 0.25%.

HMRC interest rates are linked to the Bank of England base rate.

Due to the change in the base rate, HMRC interest rates for late payment will go down.

These changes come into effect on:

  • March 23, 2020 for quarterly instalment payments
  • March 30, 2020 for non-quarterly instalments payments

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