Delays hit HMRC account statements
HMRC has apologised to taxpayers for failing to deliver half yearly statements of account in time to advise them of the sums due for their 31 July payments.
AccountingWEB member Taxhound first brought the issue to light on Tuesday 19 July after receiving calls from clients who had not yet received their twice-yearly demands (and accompanying payslips).
Subsequent posts on Wednesday from other AccountingWEB members including halesir and gilbob confirmed that the issue was affecting accountants across the country.
One member passed on information from their Working Together co-ordinator that there had been a delay in dispatching some of the statements. Their advice was to download an SA Payments due form (SA361) from the HMRC website. This facility will be available until 15 August. Alternatively, payments can be made electronically or by telephone – the Paying HMRC page on the HMRC website has full details about payment methods.
AccountingWEB understands that HMRC had been caught by a four-fold increase in the number of payments on account and that around 500,000 statements have still been held up - for UTRs where the final two digits are in the range 70-99.
In response to our queries, an HMRC spokesman commented, “Due to exceptionally high demand this year we are experiencing delays in sending paper self assessment tax statements to customers.
“This in no way prevents the accurate payment of tax and no one will be out of pocket as a result. Account information can be viewed on line so it isn’t necessary to wait for a paper statement.
“We very much regret any inconvenience and will send paper statements to everyone who should have one as soon as possible.”
With the advent of online filing and payment, all sides acknowledge that the statements of account are something of an anachronism. As a result, comments on AccountingWEB ranged from cynical resignation about the department’s latest cock-up to irritation for the extra work HMRC was causing them.
“We can all suggest work arounds, but that is not the point,” commented justsotax. “Statements are issued to allow the taxpayer the opportunity to pay. If the suggestion is get rid of them, fine... but find an alternative system that gives details of how the client should pay, what they should pay and when.”