HMRC is writing to 135,000 self assessment taxpayers who file on paper telling them to move online as support for paper filings will be limited
In future, paper tax return forms will have to be ordered by phone as they will not be sent automatically to any taxpayers, regardless of their ability to complete filings online.
In a notification to agents, HMRC has confirmed that due to low demand for paper filings, the service is being reviewed.
Last year, almost 97% of taxpayers filed their self assessment returns online. HMRC stressed that ‘filing online is quicker, more accurate, and helps us reduce paper to help the environment’.
However, apart from taxpayers genuinely unable to file online, there are also a significant number of exemptions flaaged by HMRC where taxpayers have to use a paper return due to IT problems as complex tax calculations do not work and this may lead to an overpayment of tax.
In the latest HMRC exemptions list there are a number of issues for higher rate taxpayers who have non-saving income less than their available reliefs and allowances, savings income above the saving rate band, and dividend income above the dividend allowance.
There are also issues with overlap relief when a taxpayer operates more than one trade of a similar kind, which can lead to problems with claims resulting in underpaid tax.
HMRC is acting swiftly to alert taxpayers to the effective withdrawal of paper tax form alerts with seven months to go until the paper tax return deadline of 31 October.
‘We’re currently writing to around 135,000 customers who submit paper returns to encourage them to complete their return online in the future,’ HMRC said.
‘Our letter will notify these customers that they will no longer receive a paper self assessment form automatically and the letter will also include guidance on how to file online.
‘Customers who can’t or choose not to go digital do not need to worry – while our paper form will no longer be available to download on gov.uk, it will be available to request from 6 April by calling us on 0300 2003 610.’