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Paperless Self-Assessment â€˜A Step Closerâ€™ The government has said it is taking strides towards making paperless self-assessment (SA) a reality for all self-employed taxpayers. A change in the law will make it possible for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to send electronic communications by email instead of by letter, as at present.
The proposed change is subject to consultation of the paperless SA element of the HMRC digital strategy, but exchequer secretary to the Treasury David Gauke is very keen to see it go ahead. He said: "HMRCâ€™s Digital Strategy will make processes like SA faster and simpler. It will deliver the tax system for the 21st century that taxpayers expect. "The vast majority of HMRCâ€™s SA customers already file electronically, but only 25 per cent of their dealings with HMRC are online. Paperless SA will allow customers to do it all online."
Moving towards paperless SA could help both the government and individual businesses take strides towards becoming predominantly or entirely paperless. Some people might imagine that they need to keep piles of paperwork in order to be able to complete their self-assessment, but this is not the case. While HMRC does require that all relevant original documents are kept by the taxpayer, its guidance states that these do not have to be kept on paper. Document scanning or the saving of data electronically on a hard drive, CD or memory stick are perfectly permissible ways of storing the information.
All this can help to ensure self-assessors are able to minimise their paperwork and make the most of what may be finite amounts of space. The reduction in paperwork is also a clear government aim, one which a number of departments are seeking to achieve. A prime example is that of the National Health Service, which was set the target of going paperless by 2018 in a speech by health secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier this year. One step towards that will include the establishment of a system in which everyone can see their health records held by their GP by 2015.
Storetec News/Blogs."http://www.storetec.net/newsblog/paperless-selfassessment-a-step-closer/". Paperless selfassessment 'a step closer'. November 28, 2013. Storetec.