Is HMRC processing tax repayments in four weeks?

HMRC aims to make repayments within four weeks. We all agree that before making refunds HMRC needs to check that they are genuine to avoid fraud. These security checks will inevitably cause an extra delay processing the cases selected. This combined with the higher volume of claims being made at this time of the year may add a couple more weeks before a refund is issued.


How long are your clients waiting for their refunds?

If your refund is longer than four weeks let us know:

  • How long have you waited?
  • The tax ie IT, CT, VAT, NIC, other
  • How you requested the refund eg Online, paper, claimed on a form, PAYE, R40?


We are interested to hear if your experience matches what HMRC are telling us.


As you are aware HMRC helplines are exceptionally busy. To help you avoid wasting your time with unproductive calls we recommend that you inform clients that refunds will take at least four weeks and unless urgent don’t chase HMRC in the interim.


For background see Tax repayments – 2009/10 - How long will they take?


Post a comment


  • To save everybody reposting, refer to online HMRC post delays section.
  • I had a 2008-09 repayment held up for eight weeks. Whilst I accept that as the client's return was transmitted electronically towards the end of January 2010, this was a peak period, I did complain to HMRC. They have replied that, in their opinion, eight weeks is perfectly acceptable. This appears to conflict with the above aim.
  • Paper R40 claims average 3 months when sent to the Claims office at Leicester & Northants.  The same forms sent to the taxpayer's normal offices (rather than Claims) take about 4 - 6 weeks.  Time of year doesn't seem to make much difference.

    Two Corporation Tax claims for losses take an age with repayments from January & March still outstanding despite chasing and promises.  Seems to undermine the support for small business by Government prompt payment of debts due.


  • A refund for a client was shown by HMRC on their website to have been sent to a client's bank account on 6 April 2010.


    It eventually arrived nearly 4 weeks later. I was informed that "security checks" had held it up. Interestingly, although interest supplement had been included in the amount repaid, nothing was then added for the 4 week period whilst HMRC performed their so-called "security checks".


    I am pretty certain that if taxpayers were to take an extra 4 weeks to pay tax bills, interest demands would be dropping on doormats with some force.


    So this is how the previous Government intended to help make up the shortfall in its budget. Let's hope their replacement has greater ethics.

    BTW, I was told that the section that deals with security checks can take up to 8 weeks to process refunds. Here's the thing, apparently  there is only ONE such section for the WHOLE country and the HMRC person to whom I spoke led me to believe that it is not a large section either. Pretty amazing, huh!

  • Please could we e-file R40s. This must save time. What about the 64-8s and R40 clients? These do not have a UTR so how can we submit these to HMRC? Can the website tell us on SA clients if repayments have moved into security checks.