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One of the suggestions from the government to make taxation easier for taxpayers to understand, is to provide online access to taxpayer records. It has also been suggested that self assessment tax returns could be issued to taxpayers already completed using data from banks and employers. In addition to a yearly form P60, which shows the amount of pay and tax received annually and a Coding Notice, taxpayers will also be sent a statement, which they should check for accuracy.

The Irish Republic has a system that allows online access to tax records, and the UK government want to know whether taxpayers in the UK would welcome the system. In Denmark, tax forms are pre-populated with information gathered from varying sources. Taxpayers who exist outside the self assessment system are sent a statement which is pre-populated with data. Danish taxpayers are told where the information has been sourced and how to make necessary corrections.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants approves of the plans, but warns that alternative access should be provided for taxpayers who aren’t online. The government are about to embark on a trial of its Real Time Information system, which operates by collecting data in real time in order to calculate deductions from pay. This will remove the requirement for annual checks to calculate tax liability. Following the installation of a new PAYE system two years ago, has led to demands for unpaid tax and repayments to those who paid too much. The pilot for RTI begins April 2012, becoming mandatory from April 2013.

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