Give individuals tax relief for self-assessment software costs

21 June 2017

In his article, my colleague Andrew Hubbard comments on a tribunal case in which the taxpayer was aggrieved that, despite HMRC indications to the contrary, if he wished to file a partnership return online then he had no choice but to pay for the software to do so. With Making Tax Digital just around the corner for both individuals and companies, HMRC continue to indicate that software companies will provide free software products, with free updates, to enable taxpayers to comply with their statutory obligations.

At the 3 May meeting between the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, HMRC and software companies, the availability of free software was discussed. The vendors are recorded as saying that ‘they are yet to identify a business model that will make free software a viable proposition’. To put it another way, taxpayers affected by MTD are almost certain to have to spend extra money on the software to comply with their statutory obligations, because HMRC will not or cannot provide that software.

Businesses will get tax relief for the extra costs of that software. Individual taxpayers will not. This is manifestly unjust and we call on the government to ensure that tax relief is available for citizens who incur extra costs in meeting their tax obligations online.

For more information please contact George Bull, or your usual RSM contact.