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Postal strike causes tax return chaos

21st Oct 2009
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The CIOT and ATT are calling for the government not to issue fines to people whose tax returns are delayed by the postal strikes.

The respective presidents of the Chartered Institute of Taxation and Association of Taxation Technicians have written jointly to the UK’s chief taxman, Dave Hartnett, asking for taxpayers affected by the postal strikes not to be penalised if they miss the 31 October self assessment deadline.

Andrew Hubbard and David Stedman are calling for calling for all paper returns received within a week of the deadline to be treated as if they were received on time and for the usual £100 late filing penalty to be waived in these cases.

“Given the chaos likely to hit the postal service over the next few days, it would be much more sensible and less bureaucratic all round simply to treat all returns which arrive up to a week late as having arrived on time”, said Hubbard.

For those submitting returns, Stedman advises caution: “The regional postal strikes earlier this year led to some letters being delayed by weeks. I would strongly encourage anyone yet to send in their tax return to either deliver it by hand to a local tax office – and keep a note of when they delivered it – or to obtain a ‘proof of posting’ certificate from their local post office when they post it. This will enable people to prove to HMRC that they posted in good time even if the return arrives late and they need to appeal”.

UPDATE : HMRC has updated the guidance on this topic - see this related article

Replies (2)

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By User deleted
22nd Oct 2009 12:55

Local tax office?
For some of us that could be quite some distance away!

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By Dave Watkinson
22nd Oct 2009 21:15

"Lost" post

As a firm, very little of our mail is delayed unduly or gets "lost in the post".  This is probably similar to most people's experience, but I wonder if this also applies to other firms. 

1. At least 75% and approaching 100% of "lost" or delayed mail is to Companies House, the government agency that treats it's "customers" with total contempt.

2. HMRC have issued guidance giving some leeway with the postal strike.  Companies House have said "Hard luck - get your a**s* down here.  Give us your money" (not in so many words but that is their published attitude).

I have often wondered whether the high incidence of lost post to Companies House is due to the contempt shown towards it's "customers".  I would not go so far as to suggest that income has anything to do with this, but ........



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