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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 July 2006, 09:32 GMT 10:32 UK
Have Your Say: Paying the taxman
HM Revenue & Customs

People are being warned this week to take care when completing their tax returns.

A new HM Revenue & Customs scheme aims to help taxpayers who've completed forms incorrectly.

HMRC say that trials of the new system aim to explore simpler and faster ways of helping taxpayers, particularly for those likely to make mistakes in relation to their tax.

What are your thoughts and experiences?

Are you happy with the way your tax is collected?

How might the present system be improved?

Read a selection of your comments below.

I would like a simpler tax system, easier to understand and cheaper to collect
Mark, Newcastle
I would like a simpler tax system, easier to understand and cheaper to collect. I would like a fairer tax system (if there is such a thing). I have a real problem with stamp duty on house purchases, a sliding scale would be much better. I hate inheritance tax, it is duplcating tax, you have already earned the money and been taxed on it and been taxed on it again at the worst time.
Mark, Newcastle

Did I hear the HMRC representative call taxpayers 'customers'? This is nonsense as it implies choice-I would like to pay my tax to the collector who only wants a flat 10% please. The correct term for the relationship of the taxpayer to HMRC is 'victim'. If they do have a customer then it is the treasury, certainly not the unfortunate source of the product of their operations.
Roger, Stockport

How are pensioners meant to cope when they have no-one to help out
Graeme, Edinburgh
I think the current system is a disgrace. I regularly assist a widowed pensioner with her tax affairs. Her tax position should be simple: she receives and occupational pension, a state pension and has modest bank interst and some dividends. However, the IR make the entire issue incredibly complex. The tax collection is in substantial arrears every year. The woman was very distressed about the mess and confusion. How are pensioners meant to cope when they have no-one to help out. The fault lies with the increasingly complex tax system.
Graeme, Edinburgh

I have been self employed for over 25 years, and have had several encounters with the ladies and gentlemen employed by Inland Revenue (Now HM Revenue and Customs). With the benefit of an economics degree, I would feel fully confident in understanding the simple principles involved in filling a tax form.

I was especially interested in the section of your programme where you said there were people deliberately understating their expenses for fear of falling foul of an investigation. Despite my 'economics' training, I fall into that category. In outline, this is because I have found the revenue's approach so utterly illogical, and even, I would claim, quite dishonest when they are dealing with an individual, that I no longer feel that reasoned honest argument can prevail against their superior power.
Alan, Worcestershire

I lived and worked in the UK all my life, paying PAYE and dreading the tax man - for no good reason as I never had a problem. In 2001 I moved to Switzerland where I also have to PAYE for the first 5 years and submit a tax return that is so complicated it is almost uunbelievable - even the 3 local authorities that grab my hard earned dough manage to mess things up severly, resulting in 2500 demands by return of post from one branch and over payment of a similar ammount to another branch that is to be off set against next year (which they never correct for in the PAYE for the following year).

I also have to submit a UK tax return, and one year made a mistake that resulted in a very high tax demand from the inland revenue. A short telephone call to the tax office quickly identified my error, a few button presses my the very amenable gentlman in the tax office rectified it and a new calculation (and a return of moneys paid) followed virtually by return of post. No matter how much UK residents may complain about the service they get or how evil they think the tax man is they ought to thank their lucky stars that they dont have the Swiss service!
Peter, Switzerland

Being self employed I pay income tax, NICs and VAT. I have always found the VAT simple and the VAT inspectors helpful. On the other hand income tax is incredible complex and is getiing more so. The tax inspectors are unhelpful and lack knowledge. Now that the Cutoms & Excise and the IR have merged does it mean that income tax will now get simpler or as I suspect VAT will become incredibly complex.
Kevin, Watford

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.


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