Taxation – Anger at self-assessment delays

The Inland Revenue’s self-assessment system has come under renewed fire over hold-ups in dealing with enquiries, delayed tax repayments and overcharging of interest.

Other criticisms, such as poorly designed tax forms, also arise from a damning survey of self-assessment by the UK 200 Group of accountancy firms.

The report, covering nearly 60,000 returns completed by 59 practices also highlights delays in opening tax audits. Around 60% were opened in the last three months before the 22-month deadline.

Accountants handling farmers’ returns face particular frustration through the Revenue’s failure to process averaging claims at the same time as the returns.

Selby-based JW Pickles partner David Ingali said: ‘The Revenue is demanding surcharges on unpaid tax because it has not processed claims in a timely way.’ He added that enquiries about interest are often treated with ‘incomprehension’ as to why anyone would bother about a few pounds.

The report also criticises the number of incorrect amendments to statements and returns by the Revenue.

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