Over a month has passed after the deadline for filing self assessment tax return, which was on 31 January. Since then, a few interesting things have taken place in the realm of taxation in UK. Recently, the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) was urged for simplifying the procedure for claiming reliefs worth more than a billion pounds every year. This is because more and more individuals are having to seek assistance from refund agents, who charge around 40p for each pound repaid.
The comprehensive taxation structure of UK has triggered greater refund demands, including from the higher earners who have the right to claim relief on Gift Aid donations and pension contributions. Besides that, there are also those with underpaid benefits like tax credits, and members of trade union who are entitled to claim relief on subscriptions.
As per existing rules, anyone wanting to claim refunds for up to four years must directly apply to the HMRC. But professionals have brought to light a serious concern here. According to them, the convoluted procedure is putting off people claiming that which they are themselves owed. Instead, it is gradually pushing them towards the increasing numbers of zero-rebate zero-fee services.
There are some defects in the website of HMRC, pleas to rectify which are being made every now and then by technical officers and directors. For example, the official HMRC website fails in directing claimants properly to the pertinent guidance and forms. Besides that, concerns like lengthy waiting times over calls and phone support must also be addressed. Such things discourage people from claiming their reliefs from the HMRC and in a manner, forces them to seek the services sold by reclaim specialists.
Many high capacity claim specialists, who have hiked up their momentum through advertising during the last 3 years, are saying that their services are a price people would pay willingly for avoiding the hassles of dealing with the HMRC. Some of them have such high service rates that speculative claims would easily be dissuaded, leaving only busy higher earning individuals to follow up for small claims.
Like how the process of completing a self assessment has been simplified by introduction of eFiling services and online tax return apps, the procedures involved in claiming reliefs must also be streamlined. People should be provided with easy options for applying right to the HMRC, so that they do not have to pay high fees for accessing the services of specialists.