Amendments to tax returns – call for evidence
Our submission highlights that low-income taxpayers need to make amendments to tax returns for various reasons, but at the root of almost all cases is a failure to understand or be able to cope with the tax system, a problem often perpetuated over several years. Many low-income taxpayers are likely to struggle to put matters right by themselves, as it is often a challenge to identify what has gone wrong and to uncover the correct figures to report.
LITRG’s comments in this submission are based upon our own experiences of guiding and dealing with low-income taxpayers, and on information received from the two public-facing tax charities – TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People.
This submission highlights that being able to make amendments in an aligned or single process across taxes is unlikely to be of great benefit to those on low incomes. In fact, it is far more likely that mistakes made in a Self Assessment tax return might mean the individual has also made errors in tax credits or welfare benefits income that has been declared. It would therefore be beneficial to review and improve how the systems of HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) interact in this respect and ensure that Self Assessment taxpayers who are also benefits claimants can access appropriate guidance.
We are also concerned that an exclusively digital channel for tax return amendments would prevent digitally excluded taxpayers from being able to comply. Offline channels (such as telephone and paper) must therefore be maintained for those who need them.
Our submission can be found here: Amendments to tax returns – call for evidence – LITRG response