Tax Tips & News March 2024

To March’s Tax Tips & News, our newsletter designed to bring you tax tips and news to keep you one step ahead of the taxman.

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Please contact us for advice in your own specific circumstances. We’re here to help!

Sleigh & Story news

Early February we had our back office (where the number crunching goes on) updated with a beautiful piece of wall art, courtesy of Leanne Parkin Design. It brightens up the office and is good for the working environment!

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March 2024

· £38million of tax overpayments refunded
· Budget to bring tax and mortgage changes?
· Scammers target self-employed with fake tax refund promise
· Record Self-Assessment returns, but estimated 1m miss deadline
· March Questions and Answers
· March Key Dates

£38million of tax overpayments refunded

Have you overpaid on your pensions tax? HMRC has released information showing that £38million worth of repayments were issued to thousands of savers (aged 55 and over) in the final quarter of 2023. More than 12,000 reclaim forms were processed.

In the main, it was individuals accessing their pensions flexibly who were impacted. The unexpected tax bills have arisen due to an ’emergency’ tax code applied to their first withdrawal.

Analysis by investment broker AJ Bell indicated that since 2015, approximately £1.2 billion has been repaid to savers who were taxed too much. The average refund in the last quarter of 2023 amounted to £3,200, the same research stated.

There were calls in the national media, following the release of the information, for tax system reform to accommodate flexible pension access, which has been available since age 55.

HMRC told the FT newspaper that nobody overpays tax due to taking advantage of pension flexibility. It assured anyone affected by the emergency tax code issue they will receive an automatic repayment. Individuals can also reclaim earlier for overpaid tax by filling out the appropriate forms, HMRC officials added.

Budget to bring tax and mortgage changes?

It’s nearly that time again when the Chancellor of the Exchequer rises to his feet to address the House of Commons to deliver the latest Budget.

This Spring announcement – set for 6 March – is earlier than typical, with a General Election looming sometime later this year, in all likelihood. The Government has to go to the polls by January 2025 at the very latest.

The news that the UK has slipped into a technical recession (two quarters of consecutive negative growth) has complicated matters for Jeremy Hunt. He will undoubtedly want to offer some kind of tax cuts to woo voters to the Conservative party, with dire opinion polling consistently putting them far behind Labour. Yet, how much wiggle room is there in the public finances, given this news on the recession?

At the Autumn Statement, some commentators had expected, judging by hints from Mr Hunt, that income tax might fall. But it was actually a 2p cut to National Insurance contributions that was the big reveal that time.

Some analysts and political pundits are expecting that the Chancellor will announce a cut to the basic rate of income tax, despite the fact that even a 1p reduction could cost £7bn, according to the Resolution Foundation.

Yet again, Inheritance Tax changes could be on the agenda. Time after time we see speculation that there will be a significant move in this area of tax policy, but it’s failed to materialise. A complete abolition of IHT would hit the coffers to the tune of £7bn, the IFS has calculated.

Another potentially eye-catching move, would be a new policy for 99% mortgages to help first time buyers and stimulate the housing market. That is on the cards, if a Financial Times report proves to be accurate.

The OBR, an independent office monitoring government spending, will publish a report on the economy’s performance later the same day.

To watch the Budget, most mainstream UK news channels will have coverage, with it being broadcast live on the Parliament website and BBC News website. The speech is likely to begin at 12:30pm and run for around an hour.

Scammers target self-employed with fake tax refund promise

A surge of bogus tax refund phishing scams is feared by HMRC officials.

The Government body has warned self-employed people to watch out for fraudsters who are likely to want to target the 11.5 million or so who have just recently sent in their Self-Assessment tax returns.

Scammers will attempt to dupe people about tax rebates by email, phone or texts that mimic government messages to make them appear authentic.

Designed to use personal details for selling on to criminals, or to access people’s bank accounts, these attempts to lure in the self-employed have been witnessed in large numbers in the last year or so, judging by HMRC’s latest announcement.

Officials said they had replied to 207,800 referrals from the public of suspicious contact in the past year to January – up 14% from the 181,873 reported for the previous 12 months. More than 79,000 of those referrals offered bogus tax rebates.

HMRC said it also reported 26,443 malicious web pages to internet service providers to be taken down in the year up to January 2024. These sites aim to deceive taxpayers and steal personal information or money. This was a 29% increase from the 20,385 referred by HMRC for removal the previous year, officials said.

Kelly Paterson, HMRC’s Chief Security Officer, said: “With the deadline for tax returns behind us, criminals will now try to trick people with fake offers of tax rebates. Don’t rush into anything, take your time and check HMRC scams advice on GOV.UK.”

The main advice from HMRC to point out here is that it would not send an email, text or make phone calls to you to say you are due a refund or indeed to ask you to request a refund.

Received anything suspicious as described in this news item? You can forward emails to or texts to 60599.

Record Self-Assessment returns, but estimated 1m miss deadline

The record number of taxpayers submitting Self-Assessment tax returns was beaten in January, it’s been revealed, with a new high of 11.5million being reached. That’s quite some number!

But, judging by the figures HMRC released, somewhere between 0.5million and 1.1million failed to send theirs in by the deadline of 31 January.

Of the 12.1 million expected to file for the 2022-2023 tax year 778,068 managed to file on the last day, with 61,549 submissions occurring during the peak filing hour and 32,958 filed in the final hour.

The key stats released by HMRC for this latest Self-Assessment Tax Return deadline were as follows:

– 12,187,811 Self-Assessment returns due
– 11,581,962 returns received by 31 January. This includes expected returns, voluntary returns and late registrations
– 11,027,962 expected returns received by 31 January
– 1.1 million estimated to have missed deadline
– 11,246,962 returns were filed online (97.11% of returns expected, following adjustments)
– 335,000 paper tax returns were filed (2.89% of returns expected, following adjustments)

Of course, as you would expect, HMRC advises anyone with outstanding tax to pay up immediately. There are various payment options available and guidance accessible online and through instructional videos. If you do have any issues surrounding Self-Employment tax returns, do drop us a line or give us a call.

March Question and Answer

Q: My brother has recently suffered a severe accident during which he has suffered damage to his eye. His vision has been badly affected. It’s not yet clear how much of his sight he will recover and how long term the problem is. Looking at the worst-case scenario, I’m investigating what help he may get from a tax perspective. Is there anything?

A: Firstly, we’re very sorry to hear about this terrible news. There are many difficult things of course to cope with in this situation but purely from the perspective of financials that you’re enquiring about, there may be a little help available. If you haven’t come across it before, look up ‘Blind Persons Allowance’. This is an extra amount of tax-free allowance that goes on top of the standard personal allowance that everyone has. The figure has risen in 2023/24 to £2,870 (previous year being £2,600). It’s worth noting that if he does not earn enough to use all of his allowance or doesn’t pay tax (now or in future) he can transfer the Blind Person’s Allowance to his spouse or civil partner, if he has one. To take a step back, anyone can claim this allowance if both of the following are correct:

– You’re registered with the local council as either blind or severely sight impaired
– You’ve got a certificate that says you’re blind or severely sight impaired. It could be a similar document from a doctor

The rules in Scotland and Northern Ireland for eligibility are slightly different. You can claim the allowance if both of these points apply:

– You cannot do work for which eyesight is essential
– You have a certificate that says you’re blind or severely sight impaired (or a similar document from your doctor)

The best way to make a claim is to call HMRC on 0300 200 3301.

March Key Dates


– Due date for Corporation Tax payment for companies with a year-end 31 May.


– Chancellor announces Spring Budget.


– For employers operating PAYE, this is the deadline to send an Employer Payment Summary (EPS) to claim any reduction on what you’ll owe HMRC


– Deadline for employers operating PAYE to pay HMRC. This is also the quarterly deadline for business that pay per quarter. For those paying by post, the deadline is 19 March.


– Corporation Tax Returns are due for companies with year-end of 31 March.

The information contained in this newsletter is of a general nature and no assurance of accuracy can be given. It is not a substitute for specific professional advice in your own circumstances. No action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a consequence of the material can be accepted by the authors or the firm.

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