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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Interest, penalties and surcharge: interest: enquiries about and objections to interest

Whilst any office can deal with a general interest enquiry, objections should be referred to the office responsible for the case.

Appeals cannot be accepted against interest charges but the customer can make an objection which should be made in writing. Also the liability that the interest has been charged on must be paid in full before an objection can be considered. If an appeal is received which you are treating as an objection, send SEES letter SA824 to advise the customer.

If an objection is received and payment has not been made, write to the customer using SEES letter SA824, suitably amended, to advise that the objection cannot be considered until payment is made and that they should make payment and then send an objection.

An enquiry may be regarded as a question of a general nature, for example about the rate of interest or the period for which interest is payable. The response will normally be factual.

An objection is when

  • The relevant date or effective date of payment is disputed
  • A claim is made that special circumstances justify reducing the charge
  • Legislation is questioned

Or

  • An explanation to an enquiry is not accepted

An objection may involve consideration as to whether or not concessional treatment is appropriate. In the main unless HMRC has been at fault objections should be satisfied again by reference to fact, for example that the application of Section 101, FA2009 (S86 TMA up to, and including, 30 October 2011) is mandatory.

If you need to see the amount of interest accruing or charged, use function VIEW STATEMENT to view

  • A copy of the taxpayer statements issued
  • The statement for the position as at today

If the statements show interest charged and repayment supplement made for the same period see ’Interest charges / Repayment supplement’ (SAM111030) and section ‘Payment Allocation and Transfer’ (SAM80050).

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

You can use the IRIS SAIN calculation facilities to check how interest has been calculated in a particular case.

If the enquiry is, or results in, an objection to interest deal with it quickly. While you look into the enquiry bear in mind that

  • Interest, whether charged or accruing, will be shown on every statement issued to the taxpayer
  • If you do not respond quickly the taxpayer may become increasingly annoyed with each statement which goes out

If there is going to be a delay in dealing with an interest objection informally stand over the interest charge. Consider also inhibiting future statements until the matter is resolved. See subjects ‘Handling an Informal Standover’ (SAM11070) and ‘Inhibition of Statements’ (SAM131030) for more information.

All objections which cannot be resolved locally should be sent to the Interest Review Unit at Debt Management, Performance, Planning & Resource (Cumbernauld) using the appropriate submission form for interest cases. You can find the submission form on the Debt Management & Banking Intranet site on the Interest Review Unit pages - section ‘Helpcards and Templates’.

Note: IRU will not accept interest cases for review unless the interest charge is final. This means that the interest charge must not still be accruing (that is the liability on which the interest has been charged has been paid in full).