A Freedom of Information request from Royal London, a mutual life, pensions and investment company has yielded some interesting statistics on the number of older people submitting tax returns.
Data obtained shows that over a 5 year time period, the number of people over the age of 65 submitting tax returns increased by around 100,000. In 2010, of 9.3 million tax returns submitted - 1.6 million were people aged 65+. In 2015, the number of tax returns submitted rose to over 10 million and 1.7 million people aged 65+ were in this number.
Whereas the number of people aged 80+ has actually decreased, there has been a trend for increases in over 65's being required to submit tax returns. 30 years ago, pensioners made up 11 percent of those required to submit a tax return - this figure is now over 20 percent.
The increases have been attributed to a number of reasons such as the removal of the age-related additional allowances for those aged over 65. In 2012, then Chancellor George Osbourne froze the extra tax-free allowance for pensioners to bring tax-free allowances to parity for all age groups. This coupled with the aging population and a rise in the general income of pensioners takes them into the groups required to complete a self assessment.
27,000 people on the state pension are required to complete a return due to earning more than the personal allowance, but HMRC are planning to appease these groups. Introduced in March, the 'simple assessment' allows HMRC to use data from third parties to complete the financial information required on behalf of the taxpayer with 'straightforward' income. The new 'S-Ass' applies for the 2016/17 tax year onward.