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HMRC announces that 2006/07 tax returns will be sent out late

10th Apr 2007
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“Production issues” have caused HMRC to be sending out tax returns a little later than expected this year, unfortunately, there will be no corresponding extension of filing deadlines at the end of the year.

As a result the main SA Return (SA100), which is sent out to most taxpayers should arrive between the 19th April and 24th April 2007. Those who are expecting the short return (SA 200) will have to wait until “the end of April” and the 8th May for theirs. Returns are normally sent out in batches from 6th April on-ward.

This delay will affect those taxpayers who are quick off the mark and planning to file their returns a.s.a.p. being entitled to refunds for 2006/07 and who do not file on-line. There are no delays for those who file online – but this service is not available for short returns in any case.

A spokesman for HMRC said “We are very sorry about the delay in issuing returns and will do every thing possible to expedite refunds for customers whose repayments may be a little delayed.” He added that refunds would take priority.

One pensioner remarked, over the weekend, that this latest delay is an attempt to force everyone to use the internet. This seems somewhat cynical, but it does show that it would make some sense for HMRC to enable the short return for online filing, especially as the short return is ideally suited for the job.

The news of the extraordinary delay is yet another set back for HMRC which has been suffering from a steady stream of problems of late. It is not as if the 6th April came to HMRC as a surprise, and so the “production” problem is bound to be a unique event. "Production issues" are not normally listed as grounds for reasonably excuse for late filing of tax returns when the boot is on the other foot, so to speak.

It has been popular for the department to place the blame any general errors on tax credits in the past. They alone have accounted for more man hours than any other area of tax in the modern era, recently there have had a torrent of major problems within PAYE administration too.

News of the delay in sending out returns appears in both the “What’s new” and “Working together” sections of HMRC’s website, and again raises the issue of why the site needs so many different “What’s new" sections. It would be must easier for users to have a “one stop shop” being a section of the site that lists all the daily additions. Dare we suggest it, but HMRC might like to take a leaf out of Accountingweb’s book, and colour code their articles to denote subject matter too.


Replies (11)

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By Robert Clubb
11th Apr 2007 14:04

...One Day.....
Please can we have just one day when the headline is......."HMRC Get It Right" ?

.......sorry.....just dreaming.

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By Fred Hoad
12th Apr 2007 10:22

Worth an article
I mean really, who submits their returns that promptly anyway? The absolute minority I would imagine.

This article makes it sound like a really big issue but the effect on what we do? Almost negligible. I suspect that some people just like having little digs at the Revenue over something so small to try and put themselves in a good light by comparison. That's it blame the good old faceless Revenue when you don't file on time in 10 months!

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By Dougscott
12th Apr 2007 11:23

Feeble management
Fred I think you miss the point - there are plenty of big organisations out there who are efficiently run. Why shouldn' we expect the Civil Service to be efficiently run - after all we pay for it.

Just today I tried to file a P35 on-line using HMRC's software for a company whose first character is a number and this little gem of a message came up: "Your input for 'Employer's Name' is invalid. The first character must be a letter". So what dunce at HMRC didn't realise that there are a lot of employers out there whose first character is a number - doh!

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By Anonymous
12th Apr 2007 14:51

Pensioners and anyone who is entitled to a refund and strapped for cash, so lots of students for starters.

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By sheppitsgal
12th Apr 2007 15:06

Many of our clients wait until they have received their Tax Return before bringing their records in to us.

This effectively adds a month onto the 'lull' of February and March. Oh well, at least the annual returns keep us busy!

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By Fred Hoad
12th Apr 2007 16:48

No way Jose!
I stand by what I said originally really.

Pensioners and students can go along to their nearest tax office and complete the form today if they wanted.

And yes you could expect better for a civil service. My point remains, is this really the end of the world? I presume that this forum is used by 'professionals' :-) so it will make almost no impact on us whatsoever.

Perhaps the lady that says this will delay people bringing in their information, could a letter to the client requesting the information tell the client that the form itself is not needed, therefore don't let this hold you back.

Anyway, Feb, Mar and Apr isn't necessarily downtime, much preparation can be done for the coming tax return completion season (spend time putting systems in place to ensure efficiency - don't make the Revenues error) and also value, planning work can be done at that time of the year. Also, courses can be attended to update existing skills or even acquire new ones.

Compliance is bread and butter but planning is the future, for the future!

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By Anonymous
13th Apr 2007 11:37

Ah Fred,
You make the sweeping assumption that there is a local tax office near all these people! Sadly not always the case, and there is a big shrinkage going on at the moment so there will be even less tax offices in the future.

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By Fred Hoad
13th Apr 2007 16:43

Ah Nicola
You make the sweeping assumption that pensioners and students are completing their tax returns on 6 April.

Can I make a further sweeping assumption that students are likely to have access to the internet and can download forms that have been on HMRC website since 6 April. Many pensioners may also have access to forms this way.

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By Robert Clubb
14th Apr 2007 09:18

Drop In Centres
As a member of the local Working Together group, we have been advised that where there is currently a HMRC 'outlet' this will remain. However, some offices will be downsized to a room and probably relocated within, say, a local JobCentre.

As to whether there will be the facility at these 'drop in centres' for agents and taxpapyers to collect and deliver Returns and other items was not clarified.

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By stepurhan
25th Apr 2007 14:05

Not for Short Returns
Whilst it may be reasonable to make the "sweeping assumption that students are likely to have access to the internet" that's no good if they are filing short returns. As the article points out short returns can't be filed online.

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By Fred Hoad
30th Apr 2007 11:11

to Tracey Atkinson
Crikey! Am I in the pay of HMRC? Hardly

'I'm alright Jack' - I'm not saying it doesn't affect me, but what I am saying is that the issue can be worked around, and the extent to which it affects anyone can be neglibible.

'they are using your tax' - I would be astonished if the cost of this to HMRC is more than the cost of other government policies to which I would currently disagree. That is why I would give this news a sense of persepctive.

Accountability at the Revenue - make a complaint under the taxpayers charter and demand a response. Please also publish the response.

Late P35's - the Revenue have made an error. Mistakes happen either side of the fence. One letter usually sorts out the situation

'Are you a professional?' - a matter of opinion perhaps :-) but 7 1/2 years post CTA means I am not commenting on something I know nothing about.

Students - the ability of a student to complete a return is irrelevant to this thread. The issue is they will not have their form until a couple of weeks later, my point is that they can download a form on 6 April and be in a position no better or worse than if it was delivered to them on 6 April. How they chose to complete it is something else.

Finally, I would be more than happy to hand deliver your complaint to Mumbai. Are you paying for my travel expenses or the Revenue?

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