Inner Peace?

January 11, 2017

I don’t want to do my tax return.

I don’t want to do my tax return, because it’s boring, and difficult.

I don’t want to do my tax return, because it’s boring, and difficult, and it’s important you don’t get it wrong.

I don’t want to do my tax return, because it’s boring, and difficult, and important you don’t get it wrong, and it won’t make a blind bit of difference because I don’t owe them any money (or vice versa) anyway.

I don’t want to do my tax return because it’s boring and difficult and important you don’t get it wrong, and it won’t make any difference, and they know it all anyway.

I get a pension covered by PAYE, and I make less than the MTD threshold doing odds and ends of writing, and I get less than the dividend allowance on my non-ISA shares (actually, have I even got any non-ISA shares?) and less than the Personal Savings Allowance on my bank interest (actually, did the bank even pay me any interest?) and, honest go god, if they’d just take it and go away I’d happily pay the £100 fine not to have to fill in a tax return by the end of the month.

(I understand why they don’t do that, of course, because it would be a great tax loophole for people who really need to be doing a tax return)

But, honestly, every single thing that will be on my tax return is information already known to HMRC aside from my derisory three line accounts.  Which is why I’m so interested in MTD.  If it was a case of, “here’s your tax return, all you have to do is check over the figures, add your three line accounts and press send”, then it would be a boon for people like me.

Is that how we think it will work?  Or am I, instead of once a year, going to find myself in a couple of years time sitting four or five times a year thinking “I don’t want to do my taxes…”


  1. It’s quite hard to see what the plan is for people like you, with self-employed income under the MTD reporting threshold. All the consultation has been about people who are over it, and very little about those who are under.

    I suspect that you’re right, and it will be a case of reporting your three line accounts to HMRC under the “End of year update” procedure. The question is whether the deadline for that will be 31January, or 5 April, or 9 months after your accounts date, or what. This could possibly lead to some confusion in some quarters, I should think.

    Of course if that’s the case, although you will only have to think “I don’t want to do my taxes” once a year you will have to think “do I have taxes that I don’t want to do?” four times a year, in case you’ve gone over the threshold…

    …and if you’re anything like me, you will probably end up thinking “Is this one of the times when I need to think about whether I have tax to do?” eight times a year because you can’t immediately recall whether or not this month end is a quarter end.

  2. It’s disappointing that HMRC didn’t think through the proposals from the viewpoint of the smallest businesses (VATMOSS, anyone?) because in the case of MTD they might actually have been able to sell it on its benefits…. stop laughing at the back!

    • I’m not laughing – I can see a lot of benefits to come from MTD, so long as it’s handled right (see my article in Taxation).

      The smallest businesses should be able to get a lot of bang for not much buck, but will need to be reassured that this is the case – and will need to be eased into the system gently. Change management and publicity are as important here as the technical side.

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