HM Revenue and Customs: Dealing with the Tax Obligations of Older People
HC 141, Eleventh Report of Session 2009-10 – Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence
- House of Commons – Committee of Public Accounts
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
'HM Revenue and Customs: Dealing with the Tax Obligations of Older People (HC 141)' examines the following issues: claiming the additional tax allowances available to older people; administering tax for older people; and providing cost-effective support for older people.
Older people are a significant and growing group for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), making up 18% of taxpayers, with 5.6 million liable for income tax. Older people are poorly served by the Department. Errors occur because people's tax affairs often become more complicated when they reach pension age, and HMRC's systems do not cope well with their multiple sources of income. For example, an estimated 1.5 million older people have overpaid tax by £250 million because of discrepancies between the Department's records and those of their employers and pension providers.
Older people may also be paying too much tax because they do not claim additional tax allowances available. Some 2.4 million older people have also overpaid around £200 million in tax because they did not have their savings income paid gross of tax.
HMRC should devise simpler systems so that older people can have peace of mind about their tax affairs and it should have a more coherent plan for meeting the needs of older people efficiently and effectively. It costs the Department twice as much on average to deal with an enquiry from an older person compared to those from other taxpayers because their enquiries tend to be more complicated. HMRC should safeguard opportunities for face-to-face contact which older people often prefer.
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