Everyone in Britain is to be given an on-line tax account that will keep a record of every detail of their pay, pensions and benefits.
‘Now we’re all going to get online tax accounts: But do you trust the Revenue to keep your details safe?
The new digital accounts being launched by HM Revenue & Customs will work like an internet bank account, and keep an up-to-the-minute record of all the tax someone has paid.
Workers and pensioners will also be able to pay bills or make lump sum deposits on account, and update their details for benefits or tax credit payouts.
It will also show your salary or total income, how much tax you have paid to date and what you paid in interest on savings or any investments.
Ruth Owen, HMRC’s director general of personal tax, says: ‘It will let you keep all your tax details in one place — income tax, tax credits, say — and the account will be personal to you.
‘It will also let us see your details and check if something isn’t quite right with your payments.’
The online accounts are the latest attempt by the Revenue to get taxpayers to go online.
Pension experts have called for up-to-the-minute accounts so that retirees taking advantage of the new pension reforms know how much they are likely to pay in tax when they draw cash from their nest eggs.
Though final details have not been confirmed, it is thought the online accounts will work in a similar fashion to an online bank account.
They will require passwords and user names. Any changes made to the online account will be updated on a central database — so call-centre staff won’t have to ask you for the same details every time you phone.
Over time, HMRC hopes to add guides, calculators and other useful tax tools to the site. The first accounts are set to launch in April. However, no one will be forced to open an account.
Pensioner groups have expressed concern that older and vulnerable households unable — or unwilling — to use a computer will get left behind.
HMRC has faced severe criticism for pumping more resources online at the expense of face-to-face services.
In July, the doors closed on the last of its former nationwide network of 281 walk-in centres.
The tax authority said a plunge in the number of people making visits lay behind its cost-cutting decision
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