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Published on 17 October 2023

Autumn Statement representation 2023

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Further to a recent news article that we have published (‘Why is my tax refund being sent to a third party I’ve never heard of?'), LITRG have made an Autumn Statement 2023 representation on the topic of tax refund forms and electronic signatures.

Our suggestion is that HMRC issue a commissioners’ direction providing new compulsory rules on what constitutes an ‘approved’ electronic or digital signature for the purpose of paper tax refund forms. HMRC, as yet, have no controls or policies in place around the use of electronic and digital signatures on paper forms - a loophole which appears to be being exploited by some tax refund companies.

This proposed change would not just benefit taxpayers who seem to be having their signatures harvested via opaque online processes/recycled/potentially forged, but also ultimately the Exchequer as public money is exposed where HMRC pay out money to tax refund companies that they should not do. Taxpayer issues relating to claims from certain tax refund companies generate contact with HMRC. This is unhelpful at a time when HMRC’s customer service levels are poor. These changes may also help reduce demand on HMRC.

Our letter can be viewed here.

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