It looks as though we in the UK may soon be going down the route taken by the Americans and Australians by requiring everybody to submit an annual tax return.

This, according to a report in the Telegraph by Ian Cowie, may be the only way forward if the taxman can't sort his computer system out.

In the report accountants UHY Hacker Young reckon that PAYE revenue over-collection amounted to  £238 million last year. An increase on the previous year's £98 million and all based on National Audit Office (NAO) figures.

HMRC says that under and overpayments have 'long been a feature' of the PAYE system, which is not acceptable. And because the system no longer met the modern job market they had introduced a new computer system.

Bit this does not seem to have saved the day. Far from it, we may end up paying for a computer  system and filling in forms!

All this goes to show is that the UK tax system is massively over-complicated and cumbersome. As the Ian Cowie points out, the UK's tax system may onlu be beaten in complexity by the one in India. Also that Tolley's Tax Guide has gone from 4,998 pages when Gordon Brown took over, to a huge 11,520 pages today.

And with all this complexity comes the inevitable inaccuracies and errors.

In his quest for ultimate 'fairness' as he saw it, Gordon Brown wanted to control the route of just about every penny in the economy. This has led to all sorts of complex taxation machinery and one has to ask the question 'has it served it's purpose?'

For me the answer is no. But also using the tax system to somehow redress society's shortcomings does nothing to address them, in fact it may just entrench them.

A massive simplification of the tax in the UK is needed.

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