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.”

Comments
RebeccaBenneyworth's picture

More information from HMRC

RebeccaBenneyworth | | Permalink

On Friday afternoon, 22 July, I received the following useful information to pass on to AccountingWEB members :

"Due to a higher than anticipated number of SA statements to be issued this year we will not be able to issue paper self assessment tax statements to all customers during the normal July period for issue. The majority will have been sent on time. "
"No-one needs to worry about this and we will be sending out the statements to remaining customers soon. People will have 30 days from receipt of the statement to pay. As long as they do that, no interest will follow.
On line customers will be able to check what's due over the internet and pay via the internet too. "

"We are sorry if anyone experiences any inconvenience and we will let you have an update by the end of next week."
 

Well if that isn't a sensible and pragmatic way of dealing with the problem then I don't know what is!

SA Statements

halesir | | Permalink

Yes Rebecca - "Sensible and Pragmatic" but should it have been necessary in the first place?

Why did HMRC not know how many Statements they needed to issue? Did they sneak up on them from behind at the last minute and go "BOOO"?

Statements of account

oneoak | | Permalink

How can HMR&C say there was an unexpected increase in payments on account - the first instalments paid last January should have indicated exctly how many there would be in July?

 

 

 

 

HMRC payments on account statements

yorkiehurst | | Permalink

i have thought for some time it would be useful for agents to have the facility to print lists of clients and payments due on a particular date (probably also UTR and addresses) from HMRC site, which would aid checking, entering to internal software, telephone query answering and mailshotting at this busy time, particularly as payments coincide with holiday seasons. Is this beyond the capabilities of the system, if so given the costs in developing the HMRC  system, why?.

Post Office payments

dpeart195 | | Permalink

We have already sent form SA361 to several clients, but this does not assist those who choose to pay in the Post Office.   This year they will have to find some other means of payment, and if that is by mailing a cheque they are fast running out of time.

In addition, it would be helpful if form SA361 could be saved with the relevant data for a client, so that we can email an accurate payslip for them to make their payment.   A blank SA361 is better than nothing, but one we can complete and pass on by email would give us the opportunity of providing a complete resolution by return.

SA361

lockie50 | | Permalink

We are also receiving calls from clients still waiting for payslips.  There are several mentions here of SA361 which we have used in the past but can no longer find on HMRC website.  Any suggestions on how to search other than using SA361.  Thanks in advance.

SA361

john.mckie | | Permalink
John Stokdyk's picture

Seems they may have run out of paper...

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

...according to The Daily Telegraph.

The suggestion in their article is uncorroborated, but that doesn't mean to say it's untrue.

HMRC's spokesman told me he would look into the background to try and identify what happened. I haven't heard back from him, but will mention the paper supply issue when he does.

Mikeparr's picture

HMRC delay

Mikeparr | | Permalink

When they do issue them I wonder when they will be sent out

I received a letter on 25 July 2011 from BP4009 issued on 29 June 2011 in response to our  letter to them of 6 May 2011. Slightly better I received another letter on the same day from BP4009 issued on 5 July 2011 in response to our letter of 17 May 2011

mydoghasfleas's picture

But when is it received

mydoghasfleas | | Permalink

But what is going on with the documents it posts?  Last week, I had three reminders for VAT returns for periods ended 30 June, they were dated 23 June but arrived 18 and 19 July. 

On 13 July I received several assessments on interest paid to overseas persons dated 28 June 2011.  Evidently the Inspector knew what was going on because the due date reads for 11 August.  How can an organisation producing that amount of time sensitive post have arrangements that only give a limited chance of it arriving before expiry of the sensitivity.
 

HMRC guidance states that postal delays can only be considered ‘reasonable excuse’ in the most extreme circumstances.  The failure to put the forms in the post is unreasonable and simply inefficient.  Does systemic incompetence consitute extreme circumstances?  If it does, how can it be competent to oversee a working together arrangement when it is incapable of folding paper, putting it in envelopes franking and posting it?  If it cannot meet its own, not very high standards, what right does it have to expect more from us; perhaps it is trying to drag us down to its level.