COVID-19: Digital options to communicate with HMRC
27 March: ICAEW has been inundated with queries around how businesses should manage communications with HMRC in light of the new restrictions. The Tax Faculty has put together this update on where HMRC is now accepting digital communications.
The lockdown in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic means that offices are closed and so physical letters are not being received or posted. While some parts of HMRC have more established digital communication channels, many still rely on paper correspondence and wet signatures.
The lockdown will affect many different types of interactions with HMRC and it is still not clear how all of this will be managed.
There has been progress by HMRC to introduce electronic communication, where previously this was not routinely in place. These areas include:
- Requesting that stock transfer forms are emailed rather than posted.
- The process for non-statutory clearances is to apply for clearance via the email address shown in the relevant annex.
- Stamp duty must be paid electronically.
- Relief from stamp duty when documents effect intra-group transfers of stock or marketable securities is applied for via email.
- Reliefs and exemptions from stamp duty on paper shares are claimed by email.
- Opinions about a stamp duty payment or penalty are obtained via email.
- Transfer schemes of arrangement where stamp duty or stamp duty reserve tax is payable must be emailed.
Areas where ICAEW members are highlighting concerns around communication are appeals and reviews, particularly as these usually involve tight deadlines and many are dealt with entirely by paper.
ICAEW hopes HMRC will be relaxed in their approach to late appeals and delayed responses more generally by taxpayers. As soon as more guidance around these issues is available further details will be published on icaew.com/coronavirus.