Taxing procedure to recover money: Reorganisation has made it harder to secure refunds from the Revenue, writes Andrew Bibby

ACCORDING to the Inland Revenue, there is a fast and simple system for non-taxpayers to claim back tax deducted from their investment interest. 'Two ticks and your tax back' is the message of the Revenue's recent Taxback publicity campaign.

But according to John Pilsbury, a retired financial director from Wrexham, things can turn out very differently in practice. His wife, Gillian, has an income below her personal allowance, enabling her to reclaim about pounds 100 in tax deducted from her share dividends. Last year, the repayment came through promptly from the Pilsburys' local tax office.

This year, by contrast, nothing has been straightforward. 'A call to my tax office for a claim form was met with the suggestion that I should phone Belfast 'who deal with this now',' said Mr Pilsbury. Not fancying a long-distance call, he tried the Revenue's Taxback freephone service instead. He said the service was polite - but failed to send him the necessary form.

He phoned his local tax office in Wrexham a second time. This time, it sent him not the form he wanted but the Revenue's introductory booklet IR110. 'Inside was a form - to be used to request a claim form,' Mr Pilsbury said.

Nevertheless, the Pilsburys completed it and sent it as directed to St Austell in Cornwall. They then waited several weeks for something to happen.

Mr Pilsbury gave up waiting. Having found out from a friend that the form his wife required was called R40, he phoned the Wrexham office a third time, asked for the form by number and finally received one in the post. Not surprisingly, he is cynical about the Revenue's Taxback campaign.

'All in all, the effect has been to destroy the system which worked perfectly - for us at least - last year and to divert work to some far-flung corners of the kingdom for no good reason,' he said.

The Pilsburys appear to have suffered from the effects of a recent but little-publicised reorganisation by the Inland Revenue of the system for administering tax repayments to non-taxpayers. Last year, local tax offices in Wales (such as the one in Wrexham) dealt with claims from their area, while a network of 11 specialist offices elsewhere processed claims from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

'On the basis of the number of claims we received, we felt we could reduce the number of offices,' said Tim Morris, a Revenue spokesman. As from this tax year, therefore, all claims are dealt with by one of just five offices.

The Pilsburys must (as they were told) now deal with Belfast. The other four centres are at Bootle, Glenrothes, Leicester and St Austell.

'Obviously it has involved sending some people's files to different offices, but I'm not aware of any major problems,' said Mr Morris. He added that non-taxpayers who had claimed tax back previously should automatically have been sent a claim form for this year. It appears that Mrs Pilsbury slipped through the net for some reason.

However, the Inland Revenue is not exactly helping to speed up new claims. Leaflet IR110, A Guide for People with Savings, does not give the addresses of the five specialist offices. It merely instructs anyone requesting a claim form to write to the St Austell office.

St Austell is simply supposed to sort requests by location and forward most of them to the other four offices. Not surprisingly a backlog has developed. 'We've received 475,000 requests for information at St Austell since January. That's a large number to be dealing with,' said Mr Morris.

Perhaps the situation would have been more efficient if the Revenue had not precipitously closed many of the other specialist tax repayment offices. It has also, at least temporarily, withdrawn the Taxback freephone advice line.

Curiously, anyone ringing this line now is told by a recorded message to contact their local tax office - exactly the step that led to so much trouble for the Pilsburys.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Customer Service Executive / Inbound Customer Service Agent

£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...

ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Project Coordinator - 12 month contract

£27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album