More about online filing. By Simon Sweetman

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Following Lord Carter, HMRC would like almost everyone to file on line by 2012, though at the moment there are no plans to make it mandatory for individuals, including small unincorporated businesses (there seems to be a suggestion that business is equated with CT payers here a depressingly familiar story).

This years figures offer some clue as to the progress being made and perhaps, as to whether enforcement of online filing will be necessary. As to why that might seem necessary, HMRC say that a million paper returns came in during the last fortnight in January. It is hardly surprising that there are a lot of erroneous penalty notices and that the day to day processing work of the department is disrupted when these have to be logged by hand.

By 31 January this year 2,895,482 ITSA returns fo...

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01st Mar 2007 11:22

what I should have known...
What I did not know when I wrote this (but should have) is that none of the big firms file online. This is not for security reasons but because their bureaucratic internal controls mean that everything has to be signed off by numerous people, and they don't give the staff filing tax returns the authority to enable them to file online.

And the MP thing - purely about keeping the information extra secure.

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27th Feb 2007 08:22

Annoying MP
I file all my self assessment returns online, and have done for a few years now. As with manual payroll, I have almost forgotten how it is to complete a return and calculate the tax liability by hand!

So, when it comes to completing the return of my MP, imagine my horror at being faced with a large bulky form and having to pay to post it!

Why is it such a task to cater for the 600odd returns that would be due? The MP supplementary page is almost identical to the employment one, so where is the problem? The provider of my tax return software thinks that it is worth doing, so why not HMRC?

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27th Feb 2007 09:08

MP returns
The MP returns are not excluded because of difficulties in transmission. In fact they were included in the original proposed format of the xml message (I put it there !), nor is there any security problem during transmission. The problem is separating out the returns at the other end. Currently MPs and certain other individuals returns are processed separately. Personally I think MPs tax returns should be in the public domain but this is the reason is why they are not included as part of the efiling structure.

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