Few things can be as dispiriting as tax duties. Much of that is down to the contact we have with HMRC: speaking to them, reading tax laws, and using their online system.
As such, a lot of people share grievances like the five we’ve listed here. Have you experienced them too? Whether it’s a long wait or issues with how to fill a Self Assessment tax return, we’re sure you’ll recognise some (if not all) of those below…
1. We have the most complex tax law in the world
At 17,000 pages, British tax law is a maze of dos, don’ts and obscure benefits. Legislation has trebled in size since 1997. This makes it tough to know what you’re in line to pay, and how that changes with the role you perform. Tax codes help, but they aren’t the be-all and end-all solution. They can change when you take on an additional job or employer; if HMRC has the wrong code, you may end up paying more or less than you should. Plenty of people get stuck on the details.
2. Completing a Self Assessment can be hard work
You have to input a Unique Taxpayer Reference number continuously for verification. After that, there’s the matter of uploading your evidence, checking all the boxes that apply to you, and arranging payment by one of several channels. Then you have to double-check everything, from your income to the corresponding dates on your statements. Self Assessments through HMRC’s portal aren’t a walk in the park.
3. Digital connections can fail at the worst time
Not only does the business of how to fill a Self Assessment tax return take in a huge amount of time, as you’re doing it, disaster may strike. Your computer may crash, sending all of that data back to square one. Or in another case, HMRC’s servers could stop functioning, leaving you unable to file anything. It’s frustrating and unavoidable if you’re using a computer for digital submission.
4. Fake HMRC letters are on the rise
It’s not their fault, but HMRC’s insignia and language is used by scammers with increasing frequency. Emails are one medium; SMS texts are another. And fake HMRC letters are the worst of all, as policy states that the taxman will only contact you by post if they have to, making the ruse all the more believable. You may have come close to falling into this trap. Regardless, staying on guard takes more of our energy up.
5. Your support request takes an age to be answered
Whilst average call times aren’t too bad (85% of people got through to HMRC within 10 minutes during 2017), it doesn’t feel good to wait in an interminable queue. This tends to happen more often close to deadline day, as confused taxpayers ring to get advice or direction on their paperwork. Chances are that you won’t have to wait long. But if you do, frustration can set in very swiftly…
By facing up to these problems, we can overcome them. GoSimpleTax is the best remedy to everything we’ve discussed here. It’s mobile software for quick, navigable and accurate submissions, totting up what you’re due to pay over the financial year. It’s also fully recognised by HMRC. Try it for 14 days, free of charge.