Starting on April 6th, 2023, GOV.UK will not allow users to download self-assessment tax return forms. Approximately 135,000 taxpayers who file paper returns will be notified by HMRC that they will no longer receive automatic paper forms. Instead, they will receive guidance on how to file their returns online. HMRC will also provide information on how taxpayers can request a paper form by contacting them at 0300 2003 610. Taxpayers will still receive a paper notice to file the return.

This action ties in with HMRC’s strategy to promote its digital services outlined in the discussion document Simplifying and modernising HMRC’s income tax services through the tax administration framework. In paragraph 2.17 of this paper, HMRC states it ‘will not routinely issue paper tax returns, starting with returns for the tax year 2022-23.

Further on, at paragraph 4.2, the document states: ‘HMRC sees a strong case for requiring new ITSA [income tax self-assessment] taxpayers to use digital services from the outset. HMRC accepts it is more difficult to change the habits of taxpayers who are used to calling or writing to HMRC, but the vast majority of ITSA taxpayers go on to submit annual returns online and therefore should also be able to interact with a digital registration service.’

This lengthy document sets out the government’s thinking on how to improve the tax administration framework to support a more digital way of working for PAYE and income tax self-assessment. It welcomes views from a range of people, in particular self-employed people, landlords, accountants, legal professionals, payroll professionals, bookkeepers, insolvency practitioners, software providers and financial advisers, as well as professional bodies.