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

Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

    Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

    Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

    £18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

    Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor