Tax return data feeds misreport SEISS figuresby
Yet another technological gremlin has struck HMRC, this time inflating the figures reported on self assessment returns by receipients of self-employed income support (SEISS) grants.
During the past week, reports have been streaming in about a bug in HMRC’s self assessment application programming interface (API) that is corrupting figures entered on 2020-21 returns for SEISS grants.
Million-pound SEISS claims?
The first report arrived from AccountingWEB member Rmillerlee, who reported that a million-pound SEISS claim had appeared in one of their clients’ tax return. The feedback from other members and succession of posts from readers including Harry B’s crazy SEISS figures (24 Aug) and Jennifer Adams (24 Aug) confirmed that this was not an isolated incident affecting a particular software program.
In all, around a dozen AccountingWEB members were affected and commercial software developers have confirmed a number of similar cases from their customers.
An HMRC spokesperson confirmed: “We are aware of a problem with the way that SEISS grants received in the 2020/21 tax year are being presented on the individual income API. Figures are being presented in pence rather than pounds. This is impacting individuals who use commercial software only (customers using our online portal, for example, are not affected). We apologise for the inconvenience this is causing.
“We advise that customers check the pre-populated SEISS entry and where necessary, delete the pre-populated figure and manually enter the correct amount. Our system will not process a return if the SEISS grant entry does not match our record of the amount paid.”
In its report on the issue the ICAEW Tax Faculty noted that where the SEISS data reported through commercial software does not match HMRC’s records, the grant amounts entered on 2020/21 SA returns were being corrected, but this workaround has caused its own problems.
On 19 August, Pauhelliker reported five examples where 2021 tax returns for self employed clients were amended to group together the original profit and SEISS grant and then add in the SEISS grant for a second time. By this week the number of cases had climbed to 11.
AccountingWEB member Ben Alligin filed a 2020/21 tax return in May for a client who had claimed three SEISS grants, but when a revised tax calculation arrived from HMRC, the first grant had been deducted because HMRC’s systems showed that it had not been paid.
“Wrong,” commented Alligin. “Client was previously registered with PD1 which proved a big enough headache for claiming the SEISS grant in the first place, because HMRC software didn't recognise that he existed due to the special status of PD1. Well we got over that first hurdle in getting the grant awarded, only to fall at the second since HMRC main body are now correcting his submitted tax return and don’t have access to the full details.”
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AccountingWEB’s interim Editor in Chief has been with the site since 1999 and returned to the editorial hot seat in March 2020 to support the team through the pandemic. When not tending to the needs of AccountingWEB members and geeking out on their technology habits, he devotes much of his time to an oddball collection of stringed instruments...