Check your HMRC post! (or pay someone to check it for you)

In the process of preparing a 2019/20 Return for a client, I have just been granted agent access to their HMRC Self-Assessment account.

Self-Assessment Returns were issued for the years ended 5 April 2014, 5 April 2015 and 5 April 2016 and are currently outstanding.

Late filing penalties have accrued on the account in the sum of £3,300 - taxpayer appears to have been lucky in the fact that HMRC have not charged daily penalties and the two fixed £300 penalties for the 2015/16 Return.

Payment of these penalties was made via their PAYE code for the years ended 5 April 2017 and 5 April 2018.

The annoying part of the story? Returns were not required for these years!

The more annoying part of the story? My client was unaware that he was missing £3,300!

The annoying cherry to top it all off? S8B(6)(a) TMA 1970 defines the “withdrawal period” for the purposes of Self-Assessment Returns as “the period of 2 years beginning with the end of the year of assessment to which the notice under section 8 or 8A relates…..” so I fear any request to withdraw the notices may be a little too late.

I appreciate that S8B(6)(b) refers to exceptional circumstances, however I cannot see that ignoring brown envelopes from HMRC or not checking your PAYE code constitute exceptional circumstances…….

So, where is your HMRC post being sent to? If you’re sitting on a stack of brown envelopes maybe it’s time to speak to a tax adviser.

About author

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Stuart Crofton
Tax Adviser