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1.7 million pensioners submit tax return in 2015/16

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Latest figures available reveal that 1.7 million people aged 65 and over submitted a tax return in 2015/16.

Of the 1.7 million people aged 65+ completing tax returns, 275,000 were aged 80 and over. The figures obtained by Royal London reveal that in total, more than 10 million people submitted returns.

This is up on data from 2010/11 which showed that of the 1.6 million people aged 65+ submitting tax returns, of which 304,000 were aged 80+. In total, 9.3 million people submitted tax returns in 2010/11.

Royal London said pensioners used to represent around one in nine of all taxpayers in the early 1990s (2.9 million out of 25.7 million taxpayers) and now they represent more than one in five (6.39 million out of 30.3 million).

It said the numbers reveal a mixture of growth in the pension population, a rise in pensioner incomes and the effects of the ‘granny tax’ where former chancellor, George Osborne, froze pensioner tax-free allowances in the 2012 Budget.

Steve Webb, Royal London’s director of policy, said each year pensioners face the ‘misery’ of filling in an annual tax return so “retirement and even old age don’t get you off the joys of the annual tax return”.

He added: “It is clear that even retirement does not mean freedom from the misery of the annual tax return.  It is shocking that over a quarter of a million 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.  In the meantime, the key to making the tax return as painless as possible is to keep good records, including carefully filing P60 forms and other information often supplied at this time of year.

“It is also striking just how many pensioners have been drawn into the tax bracket in recent decades. The number of over-65s paying tax has more than doubled since the early 1990s, and now one in five of all taxpayers is a pensioner.”

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