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Taxation: Interest Charges

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2008

To askther Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints HM Revenue and Customs received in respect of late payment interest charges on tax payments which were not late in the latest 12 month period for which figures are available. (204924)

The information requested is not available centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

HMRC processes payments and updates customers' accounts within 24 hours of receiving them in the vast majority of cases.

In a small number of cases, we are unable to credit customers' accounts immediately, usually because the payment is received with insufficient information, for example, if the payment reference number has been omitted or is not shown correctly.

In such cases the payments are allocated to a suspense account while enquiries are made to establish the account or record that is to be credited. Where such a payment is made on the due date for the tax, it is therefore possible that interest will be charged while the payment is in the suspense account. However, once the payment is allocated correctly the interest charge will be cancelled.

Every payment application or Notice to Pay issued by HMRC carries full 'How to pay' guidance. This clearly sets out the information needed to allocate payments correctly. An expanded version of this guidance is available on the HMRC website and is accessible on www.hmrc.co.uk. Any customer with queries on interest charges raised can phone the Payment Helpline for advice.