Lately there has been an increase in delays getting through to HMRC by telephone. Some comments put the average waiting time to around 30 minutes. This may have been caused by a high volume of calls during the Easter period when their systems were shut down for essential software upgrades.
What can you do if you have problems getting through ?
If you are contacting HMRC to fulfill a deadline or provide information, keep a log of the times you tried to contact them and how long you were kept waiting on the phone. It may help your case.
- If it is very urgent we may be able to help using a dedicated agent only telephone line. However, HMRC will only talk to us if we are already registered to act on a clients behalf, in respect of the service the call is about.
Unreasonable long waits which incur high call costs, may be reimbursed if you make a complaint and request compensation.
It seems all users of the Royal Mail postal service are to be affected by the price increases with effect from 30th April 2012.
Franked or stamped ? Here are a few suggestions to consider:
- Collate post. If you send multiple letters to the same address during the week (such as invoices/forms) and they are not urgent then they could be collated and posted together once per week. This would work out cheaper than sending many individual items 2nd class.
- Large mailrun. If possible it will be cheaper to time it before the price increase or look at timing future runs so that they can be sent 2nd class.
- Keep it flat. Where possible print letters on both sides to keep paper bulk to a minimum and enable more use of the letter rate of postage. A C5 size envelope with an A4 sheet of paper folded in half is less bulky than a tri folded A4 in a DL envelope.
- If you use stamps – try to buy a few in advance at the lower rate.
- Can you send more information online ? Look at getting email addresses and fax numbers from customers to increase your options.
- Multiple items ? Items weighing over 1kg have to be sent as parcels and cannot be sent 2nd class. It may work out cheaper to split them instead and post separately 2nd class. Extra packaging costs need to be considered depending on size.
- Franking machine prices are lower than stamps, however, in order to get a good deal, the contract may turn out to be a long term committment. eg) over 6 years.
On a lighter note, one man in Cornwall, has his own solution.www.guardian.co.uk/uk/shortcuts/2012/apr/22/royal-mail-penny-farthing-post?CMP=twt_gu
HM Revenue and Customs have now provided guidance on this issue, for limited company subcontractors on reclaiming deductions, taken from payments made to them under the construction industry scheme.
The time to submit a claim is at the end of each tax year. The details of the claim and reason for overpayment will need to be submitted along with the form P35. (which shows the total CIS deductions made from the company in the tax year).
HMRC aim to process claims within 15 working days if the claim is straightforward. Payments are made no earlier than 2 weeks after 19th May to ensure the majority of P35 forms have been received and processed.
CIS deductions are not transferrable between sole-traders, partnerships and companies. If you have been paid as a sole-trader or partnership, then those CIS deductions cannot be claimed by the company. The income and deductions are shown on your Self Assessment return for the year instead.
The online leaflet also includes details of helplines, CIS website and information on Payment and Deduction statements.
Please see link:http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/cis/cis-qanda-article.pdf
A new HMRC scheme is out for consultation, to enable charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs to claim a top-up payment equivalent to Gift Aid on up to £5,000 of small donations they collect each year.
It should reduce the need to obtain donor information for small donations subject to certain conditions. It is intended to come into effect by 6th April 2013.
A copy of the consultation document in PDF format can be downloaded from the HMRC website. http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageLibrary_ConsultationDocuments&propertyType=document&columns=1&id=HMCE_PROD1_031993
The deadline for responses and enquiries about this document is 25th May 2012.