Although the ‘Process now… check later’ concept has faced a barrage of criticism over the years, it is still a vital part of HMRC’s system and is still in operation meaning that tax returns are processed by a computer long before a real person checks them.

In the majority of cases, the computer generates a statement showing the amount of tax payable, or repayable in some cases, based on the information given in the tax returns.

So basically… just because you receive a computer generated report stating your return has been processed, this does not mean it has been accepted as such and certainly does not mean there will be any future problems.

Any spurious deductions for expenses or non-declared taxable income could still come to light after your return has been ‘processed’ by HMRC’s computers.

HMRC have 12 months from the date the return was filed (so potentially until 31st January 2012 for 2009/10 returns) to start asking questions so you have to remember…

You are not home and dry just yet.

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