Dec 14, 2021

HMRC is experiencing huge delays in processing requests for unique taxpayer reference (UTR) codes, according to a report.

Afford Bond Tax Director, Chris Regnauld commented: “Over 400,000 start-ups were created during the 2020/21 tax year, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and those who are unincorporated require a UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) code in order to file their first tax returns via self-assessment for the 2020/21 tax year.”

The deadline to register for self-assessment was 5 October 2021, with the tax office usually sending out codes out in the post within 10 days.

However, The Times reported that taxpayers who are going through self-assessment for the first time are in a “black hole of frustration”. One taxpayer said they applied for a UTR code on 20 August 2020 and still hadn’t heard anything back from HMRC by 30 September 2021. That individual described the tax authority’s service as “horrendous so far”, all while they were paying emergency tax at 30%. Another taxpayer said they also applied for their UTR code in August 2020, and were told to expect it by February 2022.

Taxpayers who have not received their UTR code by that point will NOT incur an instant £100 late-filing penalty for missing that deadline.

Instead, they will have three months to submit their tax returns from the date their self-assessment record is set up.

Payment of any tax due should still be made by 31 January 2022 to avoid interest charges, and by 2 March 2022 to avoid a 5% late-payment penalty.

“The good news is that It’s possible to do this without a UTR number as reference”, said Chris Regnauld, “by using your National Insurance number.”

Talk to us if you need expert tax advice or guidance for you and your business. Email Chris.Regnauld@affordbond.com or use the Contact Us form on our website. Don’t get caught out by late payment charges when it can be avoided.

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