Accountants have now slammed the Revenue because they can no longer fax over new clients form 64-8 which has prolonged the returns process in the run-up to the deadline at the end of next week.
The Revenue has been accused of not being businesslike over the issue and of not upholding its commitment to communication with taxpayers.
Stewart Kay, a sole practitioner operating out of North Manchester, he had been told by the Revenue office in Bury that faxes would not be accepted.
He said faxed forms had never been a problem in the past. ‘The Revenue has been saying the most important thing is communication,’ he said. ‘Yet here they are saying it doesn’t recognise the facsimile.’
Frank Haskew, senior manager, at the ICAEW tax faculty, said that for the Revenue to adopt a blanket approach, to not accept any forms by fax, is harsh. ‘I think the bottom line is that the Revenue (should) adopt a more pragmatic approach,’ he said. ‘It’s not very business-like.’
Peter Mitchell, director of the Society of Professional Accountants, said that 64-8 forms have been faxed in the past and that it was ‘obviously unhelpful’ for the Revenue to take its current stance.
A spokesperson for the Inland Revenue confirmed to Accountancy Age that local offices would not accept any 64-8 forms via fax ‘for security reasons’ but said it had always been policy.
‘Sometimes faxes will not be of sufficient quality. The 64-8 is an official legal document,’ he said.
‘We need an original document with an original signature. Obviously we wouldn’t want to place any extra burden on accountants, least of all at this time of year.’
To file self-assessment online go to: www.ir-portal.gov.uk/index.jsp.
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