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Self Assessment ‘Fiasco’ Could See Taxpayers Hit with Unexpected Demands

Self Assessment ‘Fiasco’ Could See Taxpayers Hit with Unexpected Demands

Issues affecting HMRC’s self-assessment tax systems could see self-employed people across the country unwittingly failing to pay tax bills they ought to be settling at the end of July.

Self assessment taxpayers generally need to pay their second payments on account for the relevant tax year by July 31st but reports suggest that HMRC has failed to inform a certain number of people about what money they owe.

“This is a total fiasco, and the issue first arose in January when people were required to make their first payment on account,” explains Nimesh Shah, a partner with the accountancy firm Blick Rothenberg.

“Due to a system error, HMRC had not generated payments on account for 2018/19 for some taxpayers,” says Mr Shah. “A number of statements have been issued by HMRC that do not show anything actually due on 31 July 2019.”

Blick Rothenberg insists that HMRC has known about this issue since the beginning of the year but has not yet taken steps to address it and inform the people who might’ve been impacted.

For now, the advice from the experts to anyone who is self-employed and who might be affected is to look at whether or not the information on their HMRC accounts appears to be accurate and reflective of their most recent tax returns.

In particular, Blick Rothenberg is encouraging anyone who has effectively been told they don’t owe any money at the end of July to figure out whether that information is likely to be accurate or not.

Anyone who feels that they should be paying a second payment on account despite having been told by HMRC that they don’t need to do so should get in touch with the tax authorities as a matter of urgency, Mr Shah and his colleagues suggest.

“Individuals have to either discuss the correct course with their accountant or follow-up with HMRC to confirm exactly what they should be doing,” Mr Shah says.

Concerns are that some people could find themselves inadvertently missing payments that they should be making to HMRC, which could then result in penalties being levied and interest payments being demanded further down the line.

David Tattersall
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