David Heaton, tax partner at Baker Tilly in Leeds, said: ‘Clients have contacted us saying the Revenue has sent statements showing them that too much tax has been paid.
These statements are clearly incorrect. The Revenue has failed to process tax returns on time.’
He said one client had been presented with a credit balance of £180,000 leaving the firm in an awkward position. ‘Clients have also received penalty notices for tax returns that were submitted on time. The problem seems to be with the Revenue’s centralising processing work – the office we deliver returns to has to send them on, which introduces delays.
‘The worry is that some people won’t check and may start spending cash they don’t have, thinking that a rebate is on its way. It is extremely disappointing that the revenue still hasn’t got accurate systems,’ Heaton added.
Janet Adam, tax partner at BDO Stoy Hayward, added: ‘It’s an increasingly irritating problem. The Revenue clearly needs to take a reality check.
I quite like the fees, but I don’t like the fees at the client’s expense.’
A Revenue spokesman said: ‘We make every effort to minimise mistakes, but given the volume of returns received in the latter part of January, there will unfortunately be some cases where mistakes occur. Our target is to process 99% of returns by 31 January.’
For more, see www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk
SELF-ASSESSMENT TAX FORMS 2004
Forms due: 9.48m
Forms received: 8.58m
Forms filed online: 1,079,298
– Via the internet: 689,264
– Via the electronic lodgement system: 390,034.
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