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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Interest: handling interest objections and enquiries: DTO action: HMRC mistake or unreasonable delay

Action to take in cases of mistake or unreasonable delay

You may have identified one or both of these during your review of the case. If so, you will find further guidance in DMBM404110.

If you send a case to the IRU, they will:

  • check everything is included that is needed to review the case
  • send you an acknowledgement and explain what you should do next; if your submission or papers are incomplete, they will be returned to you with an explanation
  • make sure that the case is not one that should be resolved locally; if it is, it will be returned it to you with an explanation.

Examples of what is not accepted ad unreasonable delay

Here are some (not all) examples that would not normally be considered as ‘unreasonable delay’.

  1. Where the delay happened outside the period that interest was building up.
  2. If the customer knew about the debt or potential debt. Most of our literature warns of interest, so we would expect customers to pay what they owe, or a best estimate, on time to avoid an interest charge.
  3. If we failed to remind or take follow-up action to get a reply from the customer or agent. The ball was in their court so it’s not HMRC delay.
  4. Where the ‘delay’ is a legal requirement, such as a statutory appeal period.
  5. Stipulated periods that we have to open an enquiry.
  6. Published turnaround times.
  7. In CT and SA cases, where we delayed in dealing with a return involving self-calculation. The customer should have known what to pay and should not have waited for a calculation or statement from us. Similarly for PAYE cases, delays in dealing with a P35 will not normally be justification for giving up interest. The employer should have followed the instructions on the end of year literature and paid by the due date.
  8. Delay in issuing or reminding about an interest charge. The customer won’t be out of pocket by this delay (we don’t charge interest on late payment of interest).