Man forced to wait months for tax refund while HMRC charges taxpayers ‘late fees’

Man forced to wait months for tax refund while HMRC charges taxpayers ‘late fees’

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Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 02/04/2024

- 20:23

HMRC charges a £100 late filing penalty if people miss the deadline for submitting a self assessment tax return or paying the bill

A man has been left outraged after he was left waiting months for a refund from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), after accidentally overpaying tax.

Jack Smith* realised he had overpaid tax by £118 for the 2022/23 tax year when his accountant did his personal account last year, and put forward a tax refund claim in December 2023.

However, a month later, he found he was still waiting for his money back.

Speaking to GB News, he explained: “It wasn’t a lot of money.

“We went on the website and requested the money to be paid back. HMRC accepted the request.

“Three or four weeks later, my accountant went on the website again and nothing happened. I’ve heard that other people have had the same problem.”

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Man looking stressed and HMRC letter

Taxpayers are waiting months for refunds from HMRC


Based on HMRC’s online service, a taxpayer who filed either a Self Assessment or income tax refund should have received a reply by January 13, 2024.

The tax authority asserts that it may require an additional 12 weeks after this date to issue someone their repayment.

It’s understood this delay is primarily caused by the security measures which are in place by HMRC to “protect” tax customers.

His money still hadn’t arrived by early February 2024 when he spoke with GB News, but Mr Smith was able to get paid by February 29.

The concerned taxpayer believes there is a hypocrisy in the way HMRC issues penalties for those who miss tax deadlines.

Mr Smith said “what really annoys” him is the fact that HMRC will “slap a fine” on people who miss tax return deadlines while taking its time to process refunds.

The taxpayer added: “I eventually had to wait 48 minutes to talk to HMRC. I mentioned that my accountant had used their online portal to request transfer the money over and nothing happened so I logged in and tried twice to invoke the transfer.

“They said I had to call them and then HMRC mentioned that it could take up to 30 days to transfer whilst they check any outstanding taxes due by me.

“I finally got paid two weeks later. Amazing that we can be charged fees for late payment of taxes but they can’t.”

The current 2023/24 tax year comes to end later this week on April 6 but there are multiple other dates that taxpayers have to keep on top of, including the January 31 Self Assessment deadline.

Those who fail to file a tax return by this deadline risk being hit by penalties which start at £100 as well as interest being charged on late payments.


Pensioner looks worried at tax statement

Britons are being "slapped" with fines for missing tax deadlines


How to claim a tax refund

Taxpayers may be eligible to get back any money owed from an overpayment to HMRC and can go onto the website to see if they qualify.

Anyone putting forward a refund claim will need to share in what way they overpaid tax, i.e. via a job, pension or a tax return, as well as when this money was paid.

If someone is applying for a Self Assessment refund, they may be asked to make their application using their personal account by clicking “Request a Repayment”.

A HMRC spokesman told GB News: “We’re processing the vast majority of Self Assessment refunds within our target of 15 working days. As always, a small minority of customers may have to wait longer as we conduct security checks on their claims, to protect them against fraud.

“We charge late filing and late payment penalties to encourage customers to meet their obligations, while acting as a sanction for those who don’t.”

*Names have been changed

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