The tax office is phasing out the automatic sending out of self-assessment forms, to encourage the 700,000 taxpayers to submit their returns online, reports Accountancy Daily.
An HMRC spokesperson told Accountancy Daily: “The new measures will encourage customers to use our online services as the issuing of paper returns is no longer automatic. Taxpayers can still choose to file on paper but this change means they will be more likely to file online if they are able to.”
HMRC automatically sent out half a million forms last autumn, while 10.4m taxpayers filed self-assessment online. They say they have seen a 110 per cent increase in people registering to communicate digitally.
As well as self-assessment forms, from April, HMRC will no longer be sending out three million blank P45s and 11m P60s to employers in a move to reduce print and postage costs. In place of automatically receiving a paper return, taxpayers who have filed on a paper form previously will now receive a short notice in the post.
Paper forms will still be available by request, and HMRC will try to identify taxpayers with personal circumstances that mean they are unable to file returns online. This would apply to taxpayers who have tax affairs that are too complex to be processed by the online system, ie, ministers of religion, but ultimately it would be decided on a case by case basis.
Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s director general for customer services said: ‘We are working hard to stop the use of unnecessary resources which have an environmental impact; that’s why we are reducing the use of paper as much as possible.
‘Digitisation remains an HMRC priority but we are still committed to giving taxpayers the ability to choose what’s best for them, so those who want to file a paper return can still do so.’
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