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Self assessment statements delay may affect half a million taxpayers

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Around 500,000 taxpayers are affected by a delay in issuing paper self assessment statements, HMRC said as they announced that those affected will not be charged interest if they make their second payment on account for 2010/11 within 30 days of receiving the statement.

The department said it has ‘more statements than usual to issue’ this year. ‘Normally these are all issued in July, but this year some will be issued later. The majority will be sent on time.’

The department said volumes ‘have risen out of all proportion to previous patterns’. But the Daily Telegraph reported that HMRC officials ‘failed to order enough paper’.

An HMRC spokesman confirmed that the unusual increase in the number of taxpayers needing to make payments on account by the 31 July due date has resulted in a shortage of the paper used for payment counterfoils.

‘Jamie Brown’, commenting on the Telegraph story, wrote: ‘Ha brilliant! But c'mon, get online people, don't rely on paper reminders!’

HMRC continue to send paper reminders and payslips to taxpayers who have filed their returns online, but those taxpayers can monitor their self assessment 'account' online. ‘This includes statements of your payment history and what you currently owe or are owed,’ HMRC point out.

Tax agents can download a payslip form SA361 for use where a client chooses to post a payment. HMRC recommend electronic payment, which is ‘safer, more secure and very efficient’.

Questions and answers

HMRC said in a note published on their website on 25 July: ‘No one needs to worry about this, HMRC will send out statements to remaining customers soon.

‘If HMRC have asked you to make a second payment on account in July, you normally have to pay this by 31 July. You usually have to pay interest if you don't pay on time. If you receive your statement in August, you should still pay the tax due as soon as you can. You'll only be asked to pay interest on the tax due on the second payment on account if you still haven't paid it more than 30 days after you receive your statement.

‘Online customers will still be able to check their statement online and pay online too.

‘HMRC are sorry if anyone experiences any inconvenience.’

HMRC published a number of questions and answers regarding the delay.