HMRC working to fix online self assessment filing errors

HMRC has confirmed that it is currently looking at options to fix errors which have arisen for certain taxpayers when submitting self assessment forms online, resulting in individuals with specific tax codes having to file returns on paper, reports Amy Austin

A HMRC spokesperson told CCH Daily: ‘HMRC is working hard to ensure that no tax is incorrectly assessed. A very small number of self assessment taxpayers who have a very unusual combination of income types will have to use paper tax returns.’

Taxpayers who have certain income sources and amounts are finding that HMRC’s servers are unable to calculate the correct amount of tax due. Due to discrepancies in the calculations the servers reject any self assessments submitted with the correct tax calculation generated by third party software.

These taxpayers that have to fill out a paper return could unwittingly miss the filing deadline, as many leave it until close to the 31 January online deadline before completing their returns. The paper filing deadline is 31 October.

Yvette Nunn, director of Berkeley Associates, said: ‘My own software supplier has issued an alert advising me to “test file” before sending a return to a client to establish whether the return needs filing on paper (and has a “wet” signature) or will pass HMRC’s validation checks and can be processed electronically.’

These circumstances are identified by HMRC as ‘exclusions’ each year. HMRC has added 16 exclusions for 2016/17 identified in collaboration with software developers.

HMRC said: ‘Any customer who submits online will have their calculation updated by HMRC to make sure they pay the right tax.’

A customer who notifies HMRC that they are affected by an exclusion when submitting a paper return will not be charged a late submissions penalty if the paper return is received by the deadline for online submissions.

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