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Confusion over repayment hold-ups

04 June 2009
Categories: News , Admin
Working Together notes 'substantial' delays

More confusion has arisen over alleged delays to tax repayments to self assessment taxpayers, after the Working Together group (WTG) acknowledged ‘substantial’ hold-ups.

HMRC yesterday denied claims that their security checks were leading to individuals and businesses having to wait for lengthy periods for rebates – and the department continues to insist that ‘it is wrong to suggest that long delays are occurring’.

‘Ninety per cent of all tax repayments are made within 30 days,’ said a spokesperson.

Today’s new Working Together newsletter notes, however, that taxpayers being subjects to additional, manual scrutiny by the taxman’s Repayment Security Team (RTS) ‘have been experiencing delays in receiving repayments… [and] for some customers (sic) these delays have been substantial’.

The HMRC spokesperson confirmed that ‘the Working Together remark refers to the 10% of repayments taking more than 30 days to process’.

The WTG has apologised for the hold-ups, which ‘have been caused by a combination of a very much sharper peak of repayments in January and February… and more repayments being selected for our security checking processes’.

Accountancy UHY Hacker Young last week suggested that tax rebate delays were being caused by an 'inadequately resourced' RTS.

The company’s Rob Durrant-Walker, a tax partner, remarked that the latest information from HMRC is ‘somewhere between spin and denial’.

‘I agree that the majority of repayments are processed very quickly, especially since online filing came to the fore,’ he said.

‘But the point that [UHY Hacker Young is] making is that tax returns chosen for enhanced security disappear into a black hole. We are still waiting for responses to rebate claims that we made in January’.

Categories: News , Admin
3 Comments Hide
admin, 06/11/2009 19:02:00


I agree that repayments have been slow recently but as ever there is usually an explanation.  When using online services to request a repayment in early May I was successful and given the thumbs up and a lengthy reference number.  On checking the position two weeks later there was still no sign of the repayment.  I called HMRC who advised, yes your request was successful but the process was stopped because no credit was available depite the account showing £Xk due to the client.  No explanation was given or could be given by HMRC but the operative I spoke to agreed there was a refund due but he could not accept the client's bank details over the phone so would issue a cheque - aaarrggh.

Thinking why, I've concluded that the second payment on account (due 31 July 2009) exceeded the repayment so the 'computer' thought no refund due despite being 3 months from 31 July (that's when this saga began).  I don't think it's acceptable to use repayments as a credit for tax that is not due some 2-3 months away.

nicholabennettr, 06/24/2009 12:25:00

Further to my attempts in obtaining my client's repayment (see earlier comment), the cheque that was supposed to be issued when I contacted HMRC after the online request failed (not that they advised so) is going through security checks!!! The issue date on online services is 29 May but they wouldn't look into it as it is less than 4 weeks. I pointed out that the delay is much longer due to the failed online request but as far as HMRC are concerned the date has been reset to 29 May. By the time it passes the security checks it will probably be used to offset the next payment on account as we'll no doubt be within 4 weeks of that date - all down to unacceptable HMRC delays. Much self restraint was required!

lesleycourtney, 07/01/2009 12:11:00

I have had very little success getting online repayments this year. Having input the relevant bank details, I get the normal system message that the repayment will be processed and received within 5 days but when I access the system 5 days later, the record has reverted to "£x is available for repayment". I have phoned and written with no further success and am currently still waiting for three of four repayments. None are particularly significant and none of the individuals have complex tax affairs that should warrant additional security checks. And whilst I can just about accept a 12 character reference number, I really do fail to see why it should be necessary to have a submission id that extends to 45 characters!! I think it is probably only to put Agents off typing letters of complaint!

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