Ask Annie: So who owes the cash here? A run-in with the Revenue


Q. In January I received a letter from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) telling me my tax code had changed, and notifying me that I owed unpaid tax from 2004-05 of £1,237.62.

I telephoned HMRC and told the official that, far from owing tax, I had probably been overpaying in the 2007-08 financial year, as my current employer had only just given its local tax office the P45 leaver's form I had received from my previous employer – even though I have been working for this company since October last year.

The official told me I would receive a letter with a breakdown of all the calculations, explaining where the underpayment had occurred. I received this in February.

It gave all sorts of figures that were incorrect, so I telephoned HMRC again. This time I was advised to write in asking for any outstanding money owing to be deferred until the 2009-10 financial year, to give the tax office time to get all the information up to date and sort things out.

I did as I was told but then I received some additional information from an employment agency that had found me work in the past; this threw extra light on my tax affairs.

I made yet another call to the tax office and requested that someone reinvestigate my case. The call handler told me that any money deducted incorrectly would be paid back to me after my affairs had been looked at again. I have a family and can't afford to wait for that to happen.

All in all, I have been bitterly disappointed with the lack of interest shown by the authorities in resolving this issue. Why are they unwilling to allocate my case to one person from the tax office?

ET, Hereford

A. You have certainly got yourself in a tangle with the taxman, and it seems that the problem may take some time to sort out.

Ronnie Ludwig, a partner in the private wealth group at chartered accountants Saffery Champness, says: "When phoning your tax office, you are normally going through to a call centre somewhere in the UK. These are manned by individuals with basic tax knowledge who have access only to the computer records."

Mr Ludwig adds that more technical queries will be referred to specialist service officers, whose workloads are often heavy. So delays are not unusual.

He says that in your case it's likely a mistake has been made. "It appears you did not initially provide your P45 to your current employer, so you probably completed a P46. This could have prompted a review of your records. It may well be that there has been an error involving an incorrect national insurance number."

Mr Ludwig suggests you phone once again to find out if HMRC has done what it promised and arranged for the surprise tax bill to be deferred to the 2009-10 tax year. If not, you should request to speak to a manager to ensure that it is done.

He also suggests that you write to HMRC, including details of the problem and the various calls you have made: "You will hopefully have the name of a higher-grade officer by this stage and should address the letter to them. If not, address it to the area director. You should also copy the letter to the complaints manager at the HMRC office."

If this does not resolve matters, you can request a review of the case by another HMRC officer. If you are still unsatisfied, you can refer matters to the official adjudicator, who will carry out an independent review.

Finally, you can even take your case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

    Reach Volunteering: Trustees with Finance, Fundraising and IT skills

    Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent