Is tax all that taxing now?

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4 April - Tax year ends mean remarkably little to me now - although once I faced their onset with dread.

I well remember the old agonies of preparing all the year end payroll data, the hassle of P11Ds and all that paraphenalia, most of it unautomated.  It was, to put it nicely, a ghastly experience.  Now almost all this is automated.  We have systems to make sure that expense claims are all handled in a way that deliver P11D information, virtually at the drop of a hat, whether covered by dispensation or not. And the payroll production process is so much simpler than it ever was.  So why comment about it then?

Well only to make the point that in many ways tax now seems, despite all the media comment, to impact upon our day-to-day operations less than it used to do. I admit that online filing of a lot of information seems to reduce the pressure on deadlines and the risk with regards to getting things in on time. I also admit, albeit because we seem to be on top of things, and are open and candid about needing information when we have an issue, and ask either our auditors or HMRC direct for assistance, that we seem to have reduced our feeling of risk in this area.  

I'm not saying you can never be relaxed about tax. The person who is  is, in my opinion, heading for a fall. I certainly don't want to go there. But I do wonder whether,  although it is said that the burdens of tax administration are increasing regularly, for a business like ours, largely UK-based, without complicated  tax arrangements  because we ignore most of the rather artificial incentive schemes that are either marketed by the government or by tax advisers, and with a reasonably healthy attitude towards seeking to minimise risk and to getting things right so that people keep off our back  to enable us to get on with the real business of making money, is tax admin such a big issue now?  It's my gut feeling that it simply is not as burdensome as it once was, when everything was done on paper.

I bet there are those who will disagree!

PS Just noticed that really convoluted sentence in the penultimate paragraph!  Sorry! 


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05th Apr 2012 09:35

Yes, but...

From a practice viewpoint, people often say around this time of year "oh, you must be really busy". Er, no*. We have maybe a couple of dozen payroll year-ends to sort out (including our own); all of these are automated. With ever fewer requiring postal communication, the hassle is even less.

However, just as nature abhors a vacuum, so the state bureaucracy makes up for all this with the coming of RTI, imposing fines (not revenue raising, honest!) for deadlines missed by a day and various other wheezes (NEST, etc) to ensure that no-one in their right mind would want to employ anybody if they can possibly help it.

* January, on the other hand ...


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