VAT officials must allow paper filing for those who need it

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has added his voice to those like the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group who are calling for the tax authorities to continue to accept VAT returns on paper for businesses who don't have a choice in the matter. HM Revenue and Customs, who collect VAT, are trying to get all their returns online with no paper option.

Mr Black is already supporting the 'Keep Me Posted' campaign that champions the right of customers to continue to get paper bills from energy providers at no extra cost.

Mr Black said:

"Nobody is saying that HMRC shouldn't try to be as efficient as possible. But, like the energy providers, they need to take into account the personal circumstances of those they deal with.

"Businesspeople in our region who work in areas where broadband is unreliable, or who are unable to get online easily for other reasons should not be penalised for something that they can do nothing about.

"A Tribunal has already told HMRC that forcing online returns on people who are prevented from using them by disability, age, or who live in areas where broadband is unreliable is a breach of human rights, and that the telephone filing service that HMRC offered was both inconvenient, and unlawful because it was not permitted by regulations.

"I also understand that HMRC kept the existence of their telephone filing service a secret. How on earth did they expect busy local businesses to find out about it? Such behaviour is unacceptable. They work for us, not the other way about.

"That is why HMRC must allow those local businesses who need to do so the option of making a paper VAT return without penalty."

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