Would you publish your tax return? 94 per cent say no!

19 April 2016

George Bull

In Tax Brief last week, we launched our Twitter poll to find out what readers feel about publishing their tax returns. 

After all the brouhaha surrounding the publication of tax returns by senior politicians, there were some cogent arguments in favour of giving wider public access to everybody’s tax returns. Indeed, some people thought that disclosure shouldn’t stop at tax returns: what about statements of assets, medical details, parking tickets and so on? The list was almost endless. 

Equally powerful arguments opposed this, on the basis of respecting the privacy of the individual, not creating an obligation to disclose more than was strictly necessary for a legitimate government purpose. Satisfying the salacious curiosity of one's fellow citizens was not one of those legitimate purposes.

So we asked you, our readers, a simple question ‘are you in favour of everybody in the UK being able to see everybody else’s tax returns?’ 

The answer was overwhelming. Despite some technical problems with the poll, 94.7 per cent opposed the idea of national access to everybody’s tax returns. 

It’s clear from this that any politician who wishes to push through Scandinavian-style tax return access in the UK is going to have an uphill struggle…

If you would like any more information on this issue please contact George Bull or your usual RSM contact.