What’s new in the bookkeeping world? There’s HMRC’s new secure digital tax account initiative for a start, a development targeted at individual customers which is also designed to help employers. It’s called the Personal Tax Account and it means all an individual’s tax details are held in one place, making it much easier for people to ‘do business’ with HMRC.

The new service will work very like an online bank account. HMRC are working with employers, inviting them to ask their workers to test-drive the accounts and provide feedback. Once any changes are made and  the system works to people’s satisfaction, HMRC will develop it further, adding more functionality to help people get an even better handle on their tax matters.

How a personal HMRC account delivers better control control of your own tax destiny

  • Registered employees will be able to test the site’s service for checking their income tax estimate
  • Sources of income will be checkable subject to PAYE, which is handy
  • You’ll be able to check your personal allowance
  • You can look at your tax code and check how it’s been calculated too, particularly good news since system errors at Revenue and Customs have led to hundreds of thousands of us being sent incorrect tax codes in the past
  • If your personal details are wrong you can change them online, a service that’ll eventually replace the clunky old P2 coding notice for PAYE workers

The future of online tax accounts

HMRC will be making the system available to more people by the end of this year, adding more services as they go. By the new year HMRC expects 10 million or so of us to have our own tax account, and by 2020 we’ll all have one. Which means we’ll be able to register, file, pay and update our tax-related information any time we like, from any kind of device.

It’s good to see HMRC joining the 21st century in ways like this, giving ordinary people access to the information held about us and giving us a measure of control over it. It counterbalances their more draconian measures nicely, and gives them a much more approachable face. More of this, please!