250,000 people in their eighties still have to fill out an annual tax return

More than a quarter of a million people in their eighties had to fill out a tax return last year, making up a significant proportion of the 1.7 million pensioners still having to complete the complicated annual documents.

According to new research, pensioners make up a much higher proportion of taxpayers compared with the early 1990s.

Former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb said retirement “does not mean freedom from the misery of the annual tax return”.

Analysis of HMRC data revealed via a Freedom of Information request shows that about one in five taxpayers this year will be over 65, compared with around one in nine in the early 1990s.

Sir Steve, a former Liberal Democrat MP who is now Royal London’s director of policy, said: “It is clear that even retirement does not mean freedom from the misery of the annual tax return.

“It is shocking that over 250,000 people aged over 80 are still being asked to deal with this paperwork each year.

“The pledge to do away with tax returns altogether cannot come too soon for this group.”

More than 10 million people submitted a tax return in 2015-16, according to a Freedom of Information request by Royal London, an increase of about 750,000 on five years earlier.

HMRC’s goal is to make individual tax assessment largely digital by 2020.

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