HMRC problems cause banking delays for taxpayers' cheques

Marina Gerner
9 February 2016

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is experiencing delays in processing a large number of cheques sent in the run-up to the 31 January 2016 self-assessment tax payment deadline due to a flood in its Shipley offices, according to accountancy firm Blick Rothenberg LLP.

As a result, many taxpayers may be wondering why the funds for their January tax bill have not yet been debited from their accounts.

Paul Haywood-Schiefer, assistant manager at Blick Rothenberg LLP, says: "We are aware of a number of cases where cheques have been sent to HMRC but the funds have not yet cleared their bank accounts. Some of these date as far back as the middle of January."

Taxpayers may also be concerned that the delay in HMRC banking the cheque may lead to interest charges.

Check your accounts

But Haywood-Schiefer says: "We have been told by HMRC that where there is a delay in presenting the cheque, these will be backdated on the individual's self-assessment online account to the date the cheques were received."

However, he recommends that those who have made their payment by cheque in good time to the Shipley office should check their online self-assessment accounts once the amount goes through, to ensure that HMRC has not applied any undue interest.

"Much of HMRC's system is automated,' he adds, 'so we would hope that HMRC has made plans to ensure that taxpayers affected by this are not sent out notices regarding unpaid tax, when the reality is that their cheques were sent in on time and are sitting in a queue."

An HMRC spokesperson comments: "The only reason a cheque would not be processed immediately is when vital information enabling us to correctly allocate the payment has not been included. We banked £9 billion in self assessment tax payments and all cheque payments were processed normally."


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