The end of Self Assessment?

It’s January, that means only one thing in accountancy circles – Self Assessment. No, this is not my annual nudge for your paperwork if you have not already provided it (but do please get it to me ASAP), but a realisation that this may be the first last Self Assessment January. Confused..?

In the 2016 budget the Chancellor announced the effective end for annual tax returns because of the Governments digital tax strategy. The long-term plan is for each company and individual to have a tax account, that is automatically updated throughout the year, pulling in tax information from a number of other sources such as weekly/monthly PAYE returns. By calculating tax in real time the theory is that there should not need to be the annual hiatus of Self Assessment silly season and users will simply be informed of their rebate/bill automatically – swan like.

Whilst I do not see this January as the last Self Assessment period, I understand that the majority of our clients, both personal and businesses, will be in receipt of their digital tax accounts during 2017 and so it may be the case that January 2018 is a little less crazy. However, I also predict that the digital tax regime will not be as serene as HMRC expects and if clients can see their tax calculations during the year, the time we usually invest in January will be spread out across the year answering running queries.