Select Committee on Treasury Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Fourth supplementary memorandum submitted by the Inland Revenue

Information on which forms are currently available to SA customers online and when remaining schedules will be brought on line

  1.  We have added two further schedules this year which now means that the Inland Revenue online, the Inland Revenue electronic tax return, covers 91.47 per cent of unrepresented taxpayers.

  2.  The Internet service for Self Assessment already accepts electronic returns generated by alternative products. Many of these cover all schedules (the only exception to this is the dedicated Members of Parliament schedule which covers their Parliamentary allowances and expenses).

  3.  We will continue to review the scope of SA Online. We will need to strike a delicate balance between the benefit to the customer and the development costs of any additional schedules, which are used by relatively few customers particularly unrepresented taxpayers.

A table showing tax returns we received between 1996-97 and 2000-01

  4.  I would refer you to my letter dated 5 March 2002, which included a table showing returns issued and received for those five years. (attached)

Information on whether we estimate how many returns will not be received by the deadline for the current year and future years.

  5.  Our aim is to move our target which is agreed with Ministers each year upwards over the coming years. But until we have a better understanding of how we can best influence behaviours in our customers around filing, accurate estimates would be difficult. Our target for the current year is in our Departmental Report and has been set at 90.6 per cent of returns issued at 31 October 2002.


  6.  The Budget Payment Plan pilot, which was the subject of my 13 May note to the Committee, was a local test of the level of demand for paying monthly instalments towards people's Self Assessment liability. We conducted the pilot in Newcastle, and are now looking at how best to develop a range of convenient and effective electronic payment options, including direct debit.

  7.  We already take payments by debit card. This is a national facility for Self Assessment payments, based in our St Austell office. A taxpayer wanting to pay us in this way phones our Debit Card Line (which is charged at local rates) with his or her debit card details and tax reference number, and the amount to be paid. The payment is authorised on-line and details of the amount paid are notified electronically to our Accounts Office and used to update the taxpayer's record.

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