Nearly half (46%) of UK workers have never checked their personal tax account (the GOV.UK digital service allowing people to access and manage their tax details), despite the fact that almost a third (29%) would like to have a better understanding and management of their tax affairs and just 16% feel ‘very in control’ of their personal tax matters.
Post Office research has found that two thirds (64%) of Britons don’t know they can access their online personal tax account for a range of benefits such as instantly checking their Income Tax estimates, that National Insurance contributions are correct, submitting claims for tax rebates and updating personal details.
The research revealed that 25 – 34 year olds are the most active age group when it comes to personal tax accounts, with 43% having accessed their account multiple times (versus a national average of 38%).
However, the results also show that many of this group aren’t fully aware of what the service can be used for, with nearly a third (32%) falsely believing it can show you where your tax is spent and one in five (22%) believing it can be used to complain about how much tax they pay.
Those approaching retirement, 45 – 54 year olds, are least likely to have accessed their account (54% have not) , despite the fact it can be used to keep up to date with state pension contributions. Those that do however, state the top five reasons to access their accounts as:
- Check they are paying the right tax (38%)
- Check their state pension contributions (28%)
- Complete a self-assessment (25%)
- Apply for a tax credit or refund (20%)
- Check their national insurance number (19%)
Martin Edwards, Managing Director, Identity Services at Post Office said: “Currently, nearly a quarter (22%) of people don’t think they earn enough to warrant looking at their personal tax account, which means that thousands of workers could be missing out by not taking simple steps such as checking that their pension contributions and tax code are correct. All of this can be managed easily on your personal tax account that’s accessible through Post Office Verify.
“It’s vital that we all are able to understand and manage our personal tax affairs – not just the self-employed but also carers and those with second jobs and career ‘gig workers’ too.Even if you are on a PAYE scheme but have additional benefits such as a bonus or company car, it’s really easy now to stay in control – avoiding any surprises when your annual return is due.”
Kevin Cunnington, Head of the Government Digital Service said: “We are delighted that so many Post Office customers are using GOV.UK Verify to access services. GOV.UK Verify is the safe and secure way to prove identity online and so far over 4 million people have used it to perform over 10.6 millionsecure transactions across 19 government services. At GDS we are committed to making standards for digital identity easier to follow and use, to make it simpler for people to safely and securely access services across the private and public sectors.”