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Autumn Statement 2015: Small firms to have digital tax accounts as part of £1.3bn HMRC reform

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The chancellor noted in the Spending Review the changes the government has made over the years when it comes to tech, referring to “a modern and reformed state”. 

This is in reference to improving interactions with the state for things such as abolishing car tax discs and aggregating 1,700 government sites into one destination with gov.uk.

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is the department leading that transformation with a £1.8bn tech investment across the next four years, with a view of “cementing the government’s position as a digital leader”. The GDS will provide support and allocate capital to the businesses as they digitise, and received £450m to get the job done.

Tax is one sector that’s set to become part of this “modern and reformed state” with a £1.3bn investment to “transform HMRC into one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world”, according to the Spending Review.

Osborne, said: “HMRC is making savings of 18 per cent in its own budget through efficiencies – in the digital age, we don’t need taxpayers to pay for paper processing, or 170 separate tax offices around the country.

“Instead, we’re reinvesting some of those savings with an extra £800 million in the fight against tax evasion – an investment with a return of almost ten times in additional tax collected.

“We’re going to build one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world. So that every individual and every small business will have their own digital tax account by the end of the decade, in order to manage their tax online.

“From 2019, once those accounts are up and running, we’ll require capital gains tax to be paid within 30 days of completion of any disposal of residential property.”

Read more from the Autumn Statement 2015:

By 2020, the aim is to have most businesses, self-employed individuals and landlords to manage tax affairs online, providing HMRC with at least quarterly updates through the accounts. The department will provide the appropriate apps and software to get the tasks completed.

The change to procedure marks “the biggest transformation of the tax system in a generation” to cut business tax administration costs by £400m by the end of 2020.

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