Written by Ray Coman
Self-assessment was introduced in 1997. It requires the taxpayer to complete a Tax return, usually once a year. The onus is on the person subject to tax to assess their own liability. Although it is not practical for HMRC to confirm the accuracy of all the information which is self-assessed, they have the power to enquire into a Tax Return to check that a taxpayer has carried out their requirements properly. If HMRC discover errors resulting from the enquiry, the penalties can be heavy.
The penalty are sturctured to prevent abuse of a system which relies on the taxpayer to make a careful and truthful assessment of their liability to HMRC.
Although most area of taxation, such as VAT and inheritance tax, are administered by self-assessment, these articles focus on the system of income tax and capital gains, which affect most people completing a tax return.