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EDITIONS
Saturday, 28 September, 2002, 05:43 GMT 06:43 UK
Simpler tax form to be tested
A tax return and a pile of money.
Many people find the current form too complicated

The Inland Revenue is planning to pilot a simplified self-assessment form to help taxpayers who find the current tax return too long and complicated.

The simplified form is likely to be just four pages long, instead of the usual 10 pages.

"This is for people who are liable to do a self-assessment return but whose circumstances are fairly straightforward," said Ann Chant, the Inland Revenue's deputy chairman.

The target groups include those in "simple self-employment, pensioners or income from two or three sources."

A pilot scheme will be launched in two areas of the UK from April 2003.

The form may include fewer boxes to complete on subjects like investment income, property and Capital Gains Tax.

"Frankly, we'll see how it goes and make improvements in the light of experience," said Ms Chant.

Less hassle

The Inland Revenue has been developing the idea of a simplified self-assessment form for about a year, in consultation with the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group and tax agents.

If the scheme is a success, simplified forms might eventually be issued to at least 1 million taxpayers in the UK. Around 9 million people are liable for self-assessment.

The Inland Revenue is also understood to be considering a more radical scheme, where some taxpayers who qualify for self-assessment might not have to fill in a tax return.

They might, instead, simply have to confirm a few statements about their income.

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The BBC's Hywel Jones
"Going through tax returns is not something people look forward to"
See also:

26 Sep 02 | Business
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