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Don’t fall into the trap of paying your simple assessment tax bill twice.

Small business owners aim to keep their tax bills as low as possible but this year, many using simple assessment are ending up paying twice!

The reason for this is due to HMRC issuing paper copies of simple assessments where in many cases, this has already been paid online.

Business owners who submitted their simple assessment digitally, were notified of their tax liability through the online system, and made a payment thought that was that. But then a letter comes through the post from HMRC with a paper copy of this assessment and the full payment amount due.

This has caused confusion as the full amount owed is shown, leading some taxpayers to believe they need to make the payment again. They miss the footnote which states:

“Any payments made have not been included in the above calculation”. 

Why has this happened?

The confusion has arisen since taxpayers opted for paperless communication between May 2021 and July 2022. These taxpayers chose to receive their self-assessments through their personal tax accounts. However, the legislation to serve simple assessments was not confirmed until 6 April 2023. During the time the legislation was being updated, HMRC suspended issuing simple assessments digitally and reverted to issuing them in paper format.

As it was not clear if the digital simple assessments for 2022/2023 had been served legally, paper versions were sent out to ensure compliance.

For taxpayers unsure about receiving this paper copy of their self-assessment, unfortunately, help has so far not been forthcoming from HMRC staff at their contact centre. The staff here do not have access to the necessary system and must refer callers to another team.

Confusion, confusion, and more confusion!

What to do if you have been affected

If you have already paid online and made a second payment since receiving a letter from HMRC use the resources on the HMRC site to discuss your overpayment. Do not call the general HMRC call centre as they will not be able to help.


N.B. Always do your due diligence to ensure any letter you get from HMRC is not fake. Take a look at our article on Fake HMRC letters – How to spot them and What to do

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