Government self assessment letters ‘lack a sense of urgency’, research suggests

Insolvency Service

Research carried out by Ipsos Mori on behalf of HMRC has suggested that self assessment tax return letters sent to taxpayers by the Revenue take ‘too long to get to the point’.

HMRC sought to discover whether the tone and content of its self assessment letters was correct, how easy the letters were to understand and whether they ‘needed more clarification’.

A lack of urgency was present within the letters, Ipsos Mori’s research found: recipients of the letters stated that they felt the communications took ‘too long to get to the point’. Many taxpayers said that they would have preferred the letter to outline clear action points early on.

The findings also revealed that individuals who received letters in regard to their self assessment tax returns avoided calling HMRC due to negative experiences dealing with it in the past.

In addition, taxpayers reported that the letters they received appeared to be ‘generic communications’, as opposed to ones containing information tailored to each customer’s specific circumstances.

HMRC stated that it will use the research in order to simplify the letters it sends to taxpayers.

The deadline for submitting your 2016/17 self assessment tax return online is fast approaching. Those who submit their return after midnight on 31 January will receive a penalty of £100, even if there is no tax to pay. Further penalties will be issued for continued payment failures.

As your accountants, we can advise you on any payments due. Please contact us for help with your tax and accounting needs.