Your taxes online and in real-time

We are the 99%Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at the meeting of HMRC bods when a bright spark put his hand up and suggested everyone have instant access to their tax affairs online.

Surely the dour mood and stale biscuits were forgotten in a flash as the tax nerds rose to their feet as one shouting "Brilliant idea!". Somehow though, I can't help thinking that they are going to regret this when the first phase comes into operation in April next year, before everyone is online by October 2013.The plan is to give millions of taxpayers online real-time access to their own tax situation so they can have a better understanding of exactly how much they are paying, or if you look at it from a different viewpoint, how much is being siphoned off the government every day.

Monthly pay slip
Because, let's face it, most of us have no clue as to how much tax we really fork out. Hands up anyone who really studies their monthly pay slip?

As a result of this, while you think you might fall into, say, the 20% band, the fact that you also pay National Insurance Contributions of 12% means you actually pay a lot more. A lot of people who only look at their annual tax contribution at the end of the year with a mixture of resignation and horror should be encouraged to keep a closer eye on things.

This is where the Government might regret opening this particular can of worms.

Because if everyone can see exactly how much they are paying and how that changes from month to month then they might find themselves dealing with more than a few disgruntled students in tents banging on about the unfairness of life.

The rest of us might actually wake up and realise that our hard-earned pay has a two-fold purpose: firstly, rewarding us for toiling away at the 9 to 5 and secondly to act as the government's piggy bank to dip into whenever it likes.

Like all great online initiatives, I bet this one crashes on day one as it is inundated by curious taxpayers.

But it's actually day two that the Government really needs to prepare for, when the backlash begins.
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