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Apologies HMRC Admin 17 but this does not answer my question.
My concern was that the HMRC online system promotes a route to making a repayment claim but then has no way of following it through despite the reassuring (but seemingly pointless) issue of a tracking Reference Number and a Submission ID which promote the idea that progress can be traced and updated.
Making a claim through this route is a blind lottery which gives claimants a false sense of security and ultimately further delays the refund process if the computer for whatever reason says no. If the claim is lost in the system HMRC seemingly are not alerted to the failure and no-one is the wiser.
There is a facility on the HMRC Online SA portal to claim repayment of a credit balance on a Self Assessment account. The process takes you through the detail needed , including the all-important bank details for the receiving account. At the end of the process you are recommended to save or print off a copy of the claim acknowledgement page which contains the date and time of the claim, a 12 character Reference Number for the transaction and a longer string of numbers described as the Submission ID.
This is all fine and gives the impression that the Reference Number and Submission ID can be quoted to HMRC to facilitate tracking of the repayment process. The claimant is asked to keep these details as a record of the claim.
However, it seems that the SA Agents Helpline is unable to access the repayment claim as the details, including the all-important bank details, are seemingly not stored on the system due to reasons of security. Where the repayment process stalls, or indeed in the case I was following up (three months after the original claim) never starts in the first place, HMRC is unable to retrieve the bank details and the whole process has to be restarted from scratch.
This begs the question of why the Reference Number and Submission ID are generated if those details cannot be used for tracking or accessed by HMRC?
In the instant case I was reduced to providing the bank details over the phone, notwithstanding the security implications or scope for potential error of this course of action. The other courses of action open to me were either to resubmit a fresh (but again untraceable) online claim or to file an amended SA return including a formal claim to repayment.
Does anyone have any helpful suggestions or recommendations on what to do if this situation arises again, or should I just discount this method of claiming a refund as not fit for purpose?