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SA refunds unreasonably slow this year?

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I've got a client who is due a refund.  It was processed as a credit on his SA account at HMRC (despite us requesting the refund in the SA100).   We claimed the SA refund via the agent gateway but no movement in a month.

We called HMRC this morning, and the agent said they would forward 'the form' to the relevant team but the earliest date of resolution as given by her computer was 21st September ....!!!   

They're already chasing tax that they think taxpayers owe them but they clearly don't mind sitting on tax refunds for longer than is morally acceptable. 

Anyone else finding this?

Maybe related, but we've had several of our clients contacted by the 'ISBC Direct Tax Repayment Credibility' department asking for ID documents before processing refunds.   We've had 4 so far this year for the 19/20 returns.   I've never before received any of these.   Are the two issues related?

Add to that that there are about 10 tax returns which were submitted in Feb and Mar that aren't yet showing on the clients' SA record (although the late filing penalties have already been issued).

I have no idea what's going on at HMRC, but they are still using Covid as an excuse I might just scream.

Replies (18)

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By mumpin
22nd Apr 2021 13:43

I have a couple where the refund isn't showing in pending.
When I called HMRC I was told that they hadn't been captured properly and needed to be referred to Technical Dept.
Bit worrying!

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By DaveyJonesLocker
22nd Apr 2021 13:48

I've had the six I submitted with repayments through already, every one in the usual "pre-covid" timescale.

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By Paul D Utherone
22nd Apr 2021 14:02

It seems that if the return includes any of the Covid support payments then refunds are being held up while the validity of covid claims is reviewed.

The 'ISBC Direct Tax Repayment Credibility' department is the new repayment checking 'black hole' that includes a threat to remove from SA if the client does not reply.

From the wording of some of the questions it looks to be trying to capture details of claims by the rip off online 'Allowance claim' companies.

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Replying to Paul D Utherone:
By Michael Beaver
22nd Apr 2021 14:08

I wouldn't mind so much if they didn't ask daft questions (like proof of CIS income where none was in the tax return).

Just more paperwork to slow everything down.

Also, these are for 2019/20 tax returns so no Covid support to be disclosed in that year.

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Replying to michaelbeaver:
By Paul D Utherone
22nd Apr 2021 23:31

michaelbeaver wrote:

Also, these are for 2019/20 tax returns so no Covid support to be disclosed in that year.


Do they include Marriage Allowance transfers? That is another old favourite that apparently flags a return for review
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Replying to Paul D Utherone:
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By legerman
26th May 2021 13:04

Paul D Utherone wrote:

It seems that if the return includes any of the Covid support payments then refunds are being held up while the validity of covid claims is reviewed.

I've done 3 so far with refunds where SEISS has been paid, only one held up, and it was for sub £300 (normally £1500-£2000)

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By mbee1
22nd Apr 2021 14:19

I've a 2019/20 repayment "pending. Rang them on 23 March and was told they could see no reason why it couldn't be repaid and would arrange its release. Still not received. Rang again on Monday to be on hold for 30 minutes when i had to terminate the call due to a client meeting. I've made a formal complaint and copied it into the client's MP and Jesse Norman - the Minister responsible for HMRC.

I'm afraid this is the only way to get things done as it's surprising what doors open when HMRC get an MPs letter. I urge you all to do it.

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By paul.benny
22nd Apr 2021 14:46

CJRS and SEISS have generated a huge additional workload for most small practices who simultaneously may have staff absence or reduced efficiency to to COVID.

HMRC have exactly the same pressures, so lets be a bit sympathetic.

And before anyone says that HMRC aren't being sympathetic to tax payers - don't forget they've already granted concessions such as extended payment periods, waiving of fines for late returns submitted by end of Feb. Not to mention the humungous amounts of subsidy they've handed out.

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Replying to paul.benny:
By Michael Beaver
22nd Apr 2021 15:19

That's understood.

I'd be more sympathetic if they weren't making my client wait for up to 6 months for a tax refund that they need now, whilst chasing clients down now for payments which are only 2 months overdue.

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Replying to paul.benny:
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By mbee1
23rd Apr 2021 08:19

paul.benny wrote:

CJRS and SEISS have generated a huge additional workload for most small practices who simultaneously may have staff absence or reduced efficiency to to COVID.

HMRC have exactly the same pressures, so lets be a bit sympathetic.

And before anyone says that HMRC aren't being sympathetic to tax payers - don't forget they've already granted concessions such as extended payment periods, waiving of fines for late returns submitted by end of Feb. Not to mention the humungous amounts of subsidy they've handed out.

I've no sympathy for HMRC at all. We got up and running from home within two days. Staff work longer hours and, yes, we've lost hours due to Covid. I don't understand why the ADL had to be suspended? Why opening hours were reduced. Why don't they have software that works

Why are they not trained? I'm ex Revenue and had some of the best training available in the 70s and 80s.

Of course it's all down to money, or lack of! Yet they can waste £2.6 million on a press room that's no longer need.

I've really been in a complaining mood of late and, frankly, every time I do complain. particularly if I've already spoken to HMRC (or tried to) I copy the clients MP in. I've had enough of them!

Rant over.

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By justsotax
22nd Apr 2021 14:55

This should be read in conjunction with the earlier post regarding HMRC leading the way on trying to improve the standards of tax advisers......the irony...

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
22nd Apr 2021 15:08

We have had very slow refunds too.
SA it getting like CT

As for the 'low staff no's" argument the probably is when you have to chase up 2, 3 , 4 times for something which should just happen that is then putting a huge strain on the phone lines etc so its self defeating by HMRC rather than just resourcing stuff properly in the first place.

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Kitten
By Hazel Accounts
22nd Apr 2021 18:09

Most have been fine (one even refunded in a record 3 days!), but I have had 2 get "stuck". Requesting refund via the agent gateway rarely helps if it's already been done correctly on the SATR - it usually means it's held a reason that needs manual intervention by HMRC.

One of my stuck ones - I eventually spoke to an agent who obviously had a bit more experience and noted there was an old flag from an issue a few years earlier that hadn't been removed - they removed it and refund came through very soon after.

Other stuck one - a different agent "pushed" along after a phone call in December (status changed to "cheque repayment pending"). I was then told it had been selected for extra security checks and system said 23 March (nearly 3 months - what do they check?!). Anyway it still hasn't arrived - I did call again - no satisfactory explanation IMO so I have written to HMRC and am waiting their response.

If I don't get one soon it will be MP's etc next................

(Both clients PAYE and nothing covid related is relevant)

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panda ketteringUK
By ketteringUK
22nd Apr 2021 22:28

The only ones held up, in our case, are the ones where the turnover has gone up and all three seiss grants have been claimed.

We wrote about it around a week ago in different post. Two tax returns submitted in the first few days of the tax year still not showing properly in the overview section.

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boxfile
By spilly
22nd Apr 2021 22:35

Oddly enough, we’ve got a couple of clients who have received refunds that they didn’t want or ask for. They both wanted the funds to stay with HMRC and be used for the 2nd POA in July. One argument was that the money wouldn’t earn anything in their own bank account and it saved them having to sort out another payment.

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By bendybod
23rd Apr 2021 10:46

In my experience, almost everything from HMRC is unreasonably slow this year. The experience mentioned of having to contact them multiple times over the same issue is very familiar too. I phoned regarding VAT and got "you deferred your VAT in March 2020 and it is still outstanding". When I said it wasn't and that it was paid in June 2020 they saw it and told me it would be reallocated. Next time I called? "you deferred your VAT in March 2020 and it is still outstanding...".
CIS refunds in particular, CT refunds, PAYE refunds..... not to mention responses to correspondence.
I do accept, and tell clients, that HMRC are being more accommodating if the client talks to them but even so, they're quick to jump on taxpayers.

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Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
26th May 2021 09:57

Like Michael a client of mine received such a letter asking for personal ID and being a bit on the ball sent a scan to me asking whether it was a scam.
I had never heard of this department - ISBC Direct Tax Repayment Credibility' department - either. I told her to send the ID info but record delivery.
She is owed about £8K and is due the refund.

Thx Michael - I'll let her know is it a true HMRC letter.

On another note about refunds - I too have noticed that refunds (CIS )in particular are inordinately slow and assumed it was because of their checking. This has not gone down well with some clients who dont understand why their refund is much lower this year (I've got the usual... 'my mate has received £2K why am I only getting £2K? ' and why its taking so long when it usually takes a matter of days'

I have had a client text me every day ...'where is my refund''

And I too have noticed that usually a refund is shown as 'pending' on screen but this year there is nothing except confirmation that the return has been submitted.

Have we had any notification from HMRC Agents Updates or notification from any institute that this is happening - or have I missed it?

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Replying to Jennifer Adams:
By Paul D Utherone
26th May 2021 16:01

Jennifer Adams wrote:

Have we had any notification from HMRC Agents Updates or notification from any institute that this is happening - or have I missed it?


It has certainly come up on the Agent Forum as regards delays for SEISS.
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