Cut the correspondence attached to SA returns

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Many of us in practice have often wondered what happens to correspondence attached to tax returns; is it logged for later or just ignored? Whilst there has been clear evidence, not least from members of Accountingweb.co.uk that the latter does seem to apply in practice, HMRC has now decided to readdress the issue. It now says that it does take notice of attachments but with the proviso that this is so only if they are relevant.

The long and short of the matter is that there is no point in sending a covering letter with a return to just say Dear SirWe enclose Xs tax return such a missive will simply find its way into landfill. HMRC is therefore advising us all to refrain from this practice. It may have been polite practic...

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26th Sep 2008 19:20

All very well but..
Our covering letter always includes the following minimum information:
Correct postal address and postcode of current tax office (HMRC often supply incorrect details or office has moved) i.e. where we actually sent the return
Current HMRC references as advised to us
Date of submission
Whether by recorded or special delivery
Agent's up to date address and contact details on letterhead
Agent's up to date reference.

1. If HMRC chooses to ignore and then destroy this information, that's its problem, not ours.
2. If there is a dispute over date of receipt or non receipt by HMRC, the copy letter can provide some supporting evidence to wave at the commissioners, independent reviewer or tribunal.

By the way, it appears that Royal Mail has reduced the information provided for Special Delivery and "Signed for" mail. On recent mailings we could only get confirmation of delivery. There was no evidence of date of receipt. This isn't much help if you receive an enquiry notice issued 54 weeks after you posted the return. That's why we are trying to file by internet wherever possible.

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