HMRC tax update as workers can now check for refunds

Nearly 300,000 "early bird" taxpayers filed their self-assessment return in the first week of the new tax year, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Some 295,250 returns were filed between April 6 and 12.

Some 67,870 returns were received by HMRC on April 6, the first day of the new tax year. The window for filing self-assessment returns for the 2023-24 tax year is April 6, 2024, to January 31, 2025.

Filing tax returns early can help with budgeting. People can set up a budget payment plan to make weekly or monthly direct debit payments towards their next self-assessment tax bill.

People can also check the HMRC app to see if they are due a refund. The revenue body said refunds of overpaid tax will be paid as soon as the return has been processed.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC's director general for customer services, said: "Filing your self-assessment early means people can spend more time growing their business and doing the things they love, rather than worrying about their tax return."

In March, HMRC halted plans to shake up its helpline services, following an outcry from a range of bodies. The plans would have seen the self-assessment helpline closed for some of the year.

In April, Jim Harra, chief executive of HMRC, told the Treasury Committee that if the revenue body had been able to proceed with the plans, more vulnerable and digitally excluded customers would have been helped. The plans would have meant that, between April and September, the self-assessment helpline would be closed and customers would be directed to self-serve through its online services.

Mr Harra said the decision not to proceed with the changes was made following a "strength of feeling" from stakeholders which had not been expected.

He told the committee in April: "I think there's little doubt that if we had been able to proceed, the evidence from last year's trials indicates that we would have been able to help more vulnerable and digitally excluded customers because the route through to an adviser for them would not have been blocked by other callers whose calls could have been more effectively dealt with online."

HMRC said it is enhancing and expanding its digital services to give customers quick and easy ways to manage their tax affairs.