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self assessment penalties

self assessment penalties

Apologies if everyone already knows this - I spoke to HMRC this afternoon about a hand delivered return and was warned that, due to the new systems they were using, any manual return received but not yet dealt with will not be logged untill it is processed, but it will have been date stamped so should be logged in then with the correct date.
This means, according to the officer I was talking to, that penalties will automatically be issued - but don't worry, once the return is processed showing the correct date it will disappear again.
There is apparently no way to prevent this happening
I take it this is the new LEAN procedure
marion hayes


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By ACDWebb
07th Feb 2007 16:44

A good reason to use FBI
if you can - and I realise that it may not always be possible, or fails on a silly reason and has to be hand delivered

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By Anonymous
07th Feb 2007 17:59

What a waste of taxpayers money
Once upon a time the idea was that computers did what you wanted; nowadays . . . . . .!

Though I have to say that since this presumably applies to last minute returns - the idea that it would be easier to file them by internet contradicts everything I've heard.

So glad I've got a good supply of Freepost envelopes to send in the appeals if they get as far as issuing the penalty letters - unfortunately our systems won't let us use anything else for dealing with HMRC stupidities.

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08th Feb 2007 10:27

Absolutely pathetic.
Civil Service? They are not civil and they don't provide a service.

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By ACDWebb
08th Feb 2007 11:07

D - not quite sure I understand your comments:
"Once upon a time the idea was that computers did what you wanted". Is the whole point. A computer can only act on the information it has. If returns are submitted manually in the last couple of weeks then somewhere there is a huge pile of returns waiting to be logged, and until that happens what else can the machine sending penalty notices do?

"the idea that it would be easier to file them by internet contradicts everything I've heard."

Virtually 100% of our returns succeeded submission by internet, so for all bar the odd one or two that failed for some reason in the final days this false penalty notice issue just will not arise for clients

And as for Jackson's comment, to be fair it is hardly HMRC's fault, just a consequence of the thousands of retuns submitted manually in the final days/weeks rather than sooner by the "customer" or failure to use electronic submission.

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08th Feb 2007 11:43

self assessment penalties
my concern was that it is not just the very late submissions, but any return not yet processed and I have seen other messages reporting submissions as long ago as October which have not yet been processed.

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By ACDWebb
08th Feb 2007 14:40

Indeed Marion
If penalty notices come out for manual returns submitted months ago I would agree that it would indicate a more worrying problem of resource for such logging activities at HMRC.

As before taking the option to submit electronically should have prevented this arising. Personally I used FBI with a 100% success rate.

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By SimonP
09th Feb 2007 00:31

FBI is not always available.
Unfortunately filing by internet is not an option when submitting earlier years' returns, although it ought to be.

I had a client take several years' returns by hand to the local office recently and told him to get the name of the person receiving them because, of course, giving out a receipt is a no-no.

It may not be widely known but I am given to understand that hundreds, if not thousands, of unprocessed and unlogged returns are being stocked in different warehouses.

It is only when bankruptcy proceedings are being threatened that Enforcement Office is made aware that the taxpayer has filed the returns. Unfortunately, not having been logged, no-one knows where they are and numerous proceedings have apparently collapsed as a consequence.

I have every sympathy with Revenue staff in the front line but someone, somewhere should be held accountable.

BTW, whatever happened to the proposed re-write of self assessment statements of account so everyone could understand them?

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By ACDWebb
09th Feb 2007 08:31

Agreed Simon
but early years would be late and on a penalty already, subject to tax due and having been issued on time of course.

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09th Feb 2007 14:52

I have today found 7 cases where we e-filed Returns in the last week and despite receiving confirmation emails that they were received, they are still showing on the Revenue's SA system as outstanding. I am now having to send in manual copies, plus copies of the receipts to prove that they were received on time, and try and stop the penalties before they are issued.

E-Business helpdesk can also confirm that they were received but they cannot access the actual data, hence why paper copies now needed.

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09th Feb 2007 10:53

Solution quite easy
There should be a logging process that simply traps that the return has been received on the system. I am still receiving confirmations on returns submitted 4 months ago, so this will carry on for ages yet. The annoying thing is that HMRC insist on telling clients that their return has not been "RECEIVED" when what they mean is that it has not been "PROCESSED".

Yes ... I will move over to FBI ... but given that a manual return has to be produced for the client I've just never seen that FBI is more efficient than opening an envelope and popping the return in!

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09th Feb 2007 10:57

Sympathy for the devil?

The system was ill conceived and is badly managed. The only sympathy I have is for the front desk people at Revenue offices. It is not their fault.

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By ACDWebb
09th Feb 2007 13:11

D, not really I suspect
I do not dispute that it is everyones personal choice when and how to submit a return.

All I am trying to get across is that if you do decide to use pen and paper, and leave it to the last minute (as is your prerogative) then you must expect that you will not be the only one and that it could lead to short term problems with penalty notices & the like being issued in error because your return was not logged due to volumes received by hand in January.

If you have a computer and internet connection and your tax affairs are not so convoluted as to not fit the parameters allowed by HMRC version software, then you have the ability to file your return electronically.

By all means get all your totals together on paper then surely it makes sense to do the figures online.

You get:
1) your figures into the HMRC system straight away, not whatever the HMRC drone interprets and types in from your paper return eventually.
2) immediate submission & processing
3) confirmation of the same
4) comfort that it has been submitted and is not languishing in a sack in an HMRC warehouse somewhere waiting for processing
5) correct demands
6) no erroneous penalty demands

That returns submitted months ago have yet to be logged/processed is I will freely grant a concern, but to blame frontline staff for a system failure (as many seem to do) is really not fair.

They are no doubt now trying to handle a rush to process similar to that we have in December & January trying to get clients returns complete, approved and filed

Look HERE at the government reports on electronic submissions.

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