Government urged to act on pensioner tax overpayments
"There needs to be more joined up government between HMRC and the DWP, and there has to be much more effective reaching out by central government to provide older people with information and advice, through local authorities and local advice centres.
"It is not often that we can heartily endorse almost every word in a NAO report, but this is an exception. It is well-researched and provides key insights into the reasons why HMRC do not give an adequate service to their older customers. The NAO have shown that an investment in changing processes now will pay greater dividends later and support the wider government strategy as expressed in ‘Building a society for all ages'.
"We have spent over 10 years in campaigning to see many of the changes now proposed and hope that the government and HMRC will grasp this opportunity to make a significant change for the benefit of older people. Anyone promising these improvements would, we are sure, get the appreciation of the older electorate."
The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group is calling on the Government and HMRC to:
Ensure more and better liaison between HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
Ensure older people get the financial support to which they are entitled
Review the complex age-related allowance structures
Award the age-related allowance automatically without the need for a claim
Improve the take-up of Blind Person's Allowance by data matching with local authorities
Obtain the banks' co-operation in ensuring that tax is not withheld inappropriately from interest paid
Consider centralising the tax affairs of pensioners so as to get the benefit of staff specialisation
Explore the possibility of the DWP operating PAYE on the State Pension for selected pensioners so taking them out of the Self Assessment system
Provide a single notification which explains how HMRC have allocated allowances against several PAYE sources
Get HMRC to participate in "one stop" local advice centres to benefit older people
Work with the Department of Health and local authorities to provide better information and services for those older people who employ personal carers