New tax rules will not mean quarterly returns for self-employed

Self-employed workers and individual business owners will not have to file quarterly tax returns, the government has confirmed. The announcement is a response to growing concerns over plans to reform the tax system, which would include an obligation for small business owners and the self-employed to submit tax returns every three months.

According to the statement, the quarterly updates will not mean four tax returns each year, but will require taxpayers to check data that has been generated from the department’s record keeping software via individual digital tax accounts.

The statement added: “These reforms will not mean that businesses have to provide the equivalent of four tax returns every year. Updating HMRC through software or apps will deliver a light-touch process, much less burdensome and time-consuming than it is today.”

The release of the statement follows a petition set up in December, which called on ministers to scrap plans for SMEs and the self-employed to complete tax returns four times each year. The petition gained more than 100,000 signatures in total, ensuring it will be debated in parliament.

Alongside the petition, experts have warned that the new rules could create a burden for individual taxpayers, raising the cost of filing tax returns by between 20 and 150 per cent and pushing small business owners and the self-employed “to the brink”.

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