Self-assessment awareness grows to record levels

Latest HMRC research has found that the tax authority’s 2015/16 self assessment marketing campaign, urging taxpayers to file their return early, has been successful with overall awareness growing to highest levels, yet communications still lack around Making Tax Digital (MTD) which is scheduled to begin in 2018

Unprompted awareness of HMRC’s self assessment campaign for 2015/16, also known as ‘Inner Peace’, has grown to 52% for individuals and 40% for small businesses making these the highest levels recorded since the start of the Inner Peace campaign.

There has also been strong growth in the total awareness of HMRC’s campaign amongst individuals growing from 63% in 2014/15 to 68% in 2015/16. However total awareness has declined amongst small businesses dropping to 56% from 60%.

Due to the campaign, seven in ten small businesses and individuals are aware of the 31 January deadline for online filing and the majority are aware of the penalties that can be received from HMRC for late filing.

Four fifths (87%) of small businesses and individuals said they would be likely to file online in the future, which is a welcome statistic as government plans for full implementation of MTD by 2020, which will see all tax returns filed online.

However, despite the plans for a quick implementation, with the first businesses starting quarterly reporting in 2018, HMRC has not begun any marketing campaigns for MTD to date with many small businesses still remaining unaware of the new proposals.

The research also shows that there have been increases in the amount of small businesses and individuals expressing that they had taken action soon then they would have if they had not been aware of the marketing campaign. This shows that HMRC’s campaigns help push taxpayers into taking action sooner, something which may be helpful when implementation of MTD begins.

Self-Assessment Tracking - Pre and post evaluation of the Self-Assessment campaign 2015-16 is available here. 

Key dates and projected timetable for MTD is available here. 

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