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HMRC releases update on personal tax accounts

A test version of HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) long awaited personal tax accounts has been launched to assess user needs

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has introduced a test version of its personal tax account scheme to assess how the system will be used and to assess the support users might need.

The test system is currently on private beta with HMRC employees and voluntary organisations. It is set to be released as a public beta later this year. 

The department hopes to have ten million individual users of the personal tax account by the end of the 2015/16 tax year.

Richard James, the programme director for the personal tax account scheme, wrote in a blog post: “The account will eventually bring all your information and a host of exciting new services together in one place, putting you in control of your own information.”

Plans for the personal tax account were announced in September 2014, as part of HMRC’s strategy for building a multi-channel digital tax platform and breaking down departmental silos.

During the March 2015 pre-election Budget, chancellor George Osborne said improved data collection through HMRC’s updated tax systems would lead to tax returns being scrapped completely.

A private beta of this system was launched in July 2015 and allows users access to their personal details, such as name, address and national insurance number.

The beta also has a tax estimate service for determining how much pay as you earn (PAYE) a taxpayer would contribute across the year, with links to forms needed when dealing with tax.

The online text system will have these capabilities and will later be developed to add extra functions, such as registering a change of circumstances.

By allowing the public to access and update their information, many taxpayers will no longer need to fill out tax returns in the future, according to HMRC.

The online system will send out messages to inform users when tax payments are due, which will ensure more people complete tax-related tasks on time.

HMRC plans to add other services to the personal tax account, including self-assessment, tax credits and national insurance services over the next few months.

This service will be similar to the online tax account, which is already available to businesses to help keep track of their taxes.

HMRC’s self-assessment tax returns are available to complete online. HMRC stated that 85.5% of tax returns were filed digitally by the January 31 deadline in 2015.

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