HMRC has pledged to clear its backlog of self assessment registrations by the end of December and shared a statement on correspondence delays. ICAEW’s Tax Faculty explains.
The Tax Faculty has been pressing HMRC to address the significant backlog of correspondence that it has accumulated. Delays are occurring across HMRC services but are most acutely felt with corporation and income tax repayments, registrations for self assessment (SA) and VAT, amendments to SA returns and 64-8 applications for agent authorisation.
Self assessment registrations
HMRC has said that it is “on track to have cleared all outstanding SA registration requests next month, in good time for the SA deadline at the end of January”. The Tax Faculty understands that online applications are being processed within 10 working days so, where possible, this is the preferred option. Where a taxpayer has been previously registered for SA, their account can be reactivated by phoning HMRC.
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HMRC statement on performance
HMRC has asked ICAEW to share the following statement:
“Like most service organisations – even those without additional services to deliver like the Government COVID support schemes and Brexit – we’ve spent the past few months recovering and rebalancing our services as society and the economy begins to normalise.
“We are working through the stocks of post that built up over the past year, as we prioritised delivery of the government’s COVID-19 support packages and the UK’s smooth transition from the European Union alongside the essential services that keep the tax system running. We are now beginning to see steady reductions in most of these stocks, and these reductions will continue in the coming months.
“We understand the frustrations of customers and agents who are waiting for us to get to their individual enquiry, and we are sorry that we can’t get to everyone more quickly. In addressing our work queues, we’ve been prioritising our efforts where we can protect livelihoods and put money in the pockets of our customer groups in greatest need.
“Separately, in a quote to the Sunday Times, Angela MacDonald HMRC’s Deputy Chief Executive and Second Permanent Secretary suggested that it could take up to six months for service levels saying: ‘In the short term, our focus is on moving through this next three to six months to get ourselves back to the standards that are at the heart of the service that we have historically, and would like to, provide.”
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