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Annual Tax Return To Be Scrapped By George Osborne

The dreaded tax return will be replaced by an online account within five years.

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The dreaded annual tax return will be scrapped by chancellor George Osborne in his Budget.

It will be replaced by a "digital tax account" that can be checked online at any time.

Users will be able to log on via their computers or smartphones to see what they owe and set up direct debits to settle the bill.

It will mean an end to the almighty rush to fill in self-assessment tax returns every January, which fills many people with horror.

Around 11 million people currently have to fill in tax returns, including 4 million who run their own businesses. They have to include reams of information about themselves, including their earnings and pension income – despite HM Revenue and Customs knowing most of it already.

The new digital accounts, which will be introduced in 2016 and become universally available by 2020, will already have this data included, and will allow people to pay their taxes when they want.

Those who would prefer to keep filling out a paper return will be able to carry on doing so, although why they'd want to is another matter.

Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Emily Ashton at

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