'Taxman struggling on refunds'

MANY people are struggling to obtain refunds of overpaid tax from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with claims taking up to three months to be processed, Huntingdon-based chartered accountants George Hay are warning. According a recent poll from the Institu

MANY people are struggling to obtain refunds of overpaid tax from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with claims taking up to three months to be processed, Huntingdon-based chartered accountants George Hay are warning.

According a recent poll from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), six out of 10 tax advisers said they had spent more time and money dealing with HMRC service problems over the past year than in previous years, said Huntingdon tax partner Barry Jefferd.

The poll blamed cost-cutting at HMRC, which has resulted in the closure of local offices and the loss of experienced members of staff, together with increased security checks, for the delays.

The ICAEW said letters written by HMRC officials were often not sent out until weeks after the date on the letter itself, with delays proving particularly inconvenient for those receiving final demand letters or activation codes for filing online, which are valid for only 28 days.

Mr Jefferd said: "We are concerned that the efforts of the Government to improve efficiency are not being translated into improvements on the ground, and in some cases are leading to deteriorating customer service for taxpayers."

CONTACT: Barry Jefferd is on 01480 426500 or e-mail barry.jefferd@georgehay.co.uk

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