Looking ahead – HMRC and the OTS’s plans for 2015

HMRC’s strategy to become a fully accessible digital business and the OTS’s review of employment status are some of the key projects happening in 2015 for the two regulatory bodies.

With major changes happening at both organisations, Julian Hatt, head of consumer understanding and engagement at HMRC, and John Whiting, tax director of the OTS were keen for feedback from members at a recent joint event with AAT.

For HMRC, becoming a multi-channel digital tax platform is a response to public demand, with the aim to provide a personalised user experience similar to online banking. Some of the key services available after the digital transformation include the ability to complete self-assessments online for individuals and an easy to use online tax dashboard for businesses.

Most of these services have recently launched in public beta versions with continued improvements due throughout 2015. All paper forms will also be available online by the end of this year.

HMRC have also recently launched a bold customer service initiative, creating a new Twitter account dedicated to helping customers with any general queries they may have.

For the OTS, detangling the complexities around determining whether someone is employed or self-employed is a priority in 2015. As more and more people work for multiple businesses and freelancing booms, the definitions of employed and self-employed have struggled to keep pace with current working patterns.

Identified as a major fault in the OTS reliefs review and small business review, the OTS is committed to understanding customer concerns around the definitions and will produce a report in time for Budget 2015.

John Whiting said that AAT members provided valuable insight into these issues.

“AAT provided a large and engaged audience that produced some good, relevant input to our work, ranging from views on the HMRC Employment Status Indicator to thoughts on how to improve things. The latter included the OTS being pointed to the Brazilian and Spanish systems as worthy of study – now very much on our list,” he said.

Brian Palmer, FMAAT, AAT tax policy adviser was delighted by the success of the event.

“I am positive that the OTS, now, sees AAT as a go-to organisation that can help it work up practical operational suggestions. I am equally certain that HMRC will continue to recognise AAT members as proactive, practical, operationally skilled people who make the tax-system work on a day-to-day basis.”

What do you think of HMRC’s move into digital? Tell us on Facebook or the Forums.
Tell the OTS what you know about being self-employed for tax purposes here.
AAT has many events like this free session. Visit the calendar here.

AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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