It is essential that any system of taxation should be transparent, as simple as possible and related to the ability of the individual to pay. In our submission to an influential group of MPs, we argue that rebranding council tax benefit as a rebate would both help simplify the system and improve take-up.
The occasions when the taxpayer or tax credit claimant is required to contact HMRC are rising every day, and with fewer and fewer opportunities to pop in to your local Revenue office it means that the phone call is an unavoidable cost. A report from the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) supports LITRG’s appeal for a much fairer deal for the HMRC customer.
Today, not long after thousands of pensioners with retirement annuities received incorrect PAYE codes, it is revealed that some 600,000 pensioners have had wrong amounts of tax collected from their pensions for many years.
The new Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Jane Kennedy) got off to a difficult start last week by announcing further problems identified with the tax credits system in the years 2003-04 to 2005-06. However it appears as if HMRC are going to take these mistakes on the chin and not seek recovery from claimants.
Every spring most householders receive a council tax demand – invariably higher than last year’s. The amount to be paid depends on the value of the property, not the income of the householders, and many people struggle to pay. But the consequences of getting behind with the payments can be very unpleasant.
Pensioners on low incomes do not receive the help from HM Revenue & Customs that they deserve and as a consequence too many mistakes are made which mean that they pay too much tax. A new, comprehensive, report from the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group sets out a range of improvements which the incoming Prime Minister would be well advised to embrace.
For years HMRC and its predecessor organisations have admitted that they really ought to do better at handling the complaints of its customers. So it is doubly disappointing that the new HMRC have not yet been able to build upon even their own best practice as they introduce a new approach to complaints.