Government urged to simplify tax for landlords
The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has published a new report exploring ways to simplify tax for self-employed people and residential landlords.
Last week, the independent statutory body that aims to simplify the UK tax system suggested that organisations that hold data about the earnings of self-employed workers and private landlords could share this directly with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
HMRC should also improve the online accounts available to taxpayers so they can see information about different types of income in one place and make ad hoc payments towards their tax bill, should they wish to.
The government should also look at whether people filling out tax returns would benefit from reporting information more regularly to HMRC using their online account. Currently, individuals do this once a year through a tax return.
Bill Dodwell, OTS tax director, said: “Too many self-employed people, and to some extent private landlords, find it hard to understand tax and comply with [the tax system] so they end up having compliance failures and all the cost and worry that comes from that.”
HMRC figures released this year showed an increase in lost tax — money that should have been paid but was not — from those who fill out a tax return, which includes private landlords and self-employed workers.
As well making it easier for taxpayers, the OTS said requiring third-party organisations to share data about individuals would have the “secondary effect” of increasing the tax take.
“Any changes that would ease the process of reporting and paying tax would additionally have the benefit of helping taxpayers to remain compliant,” the report added.