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Are we now to be unpaid tax collectors for HMRC ?

Are we now to be unpaid tax collectors for HMRC ?

Have any other agents received phone calls from HMRC asking them to chase clients to pay outstanding tax. In my case the call related to an £3k corporation tax liability payable 1 May 2009. The call came from a HMRC call centre and the caller appeared to have no details as to the value or age of the outstanding liability. From what I gather he was working through a list of agents to call to chase unpaid tax. Are we now expected to act as tax collectors as well as tax advisers ?

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21st Jun 2009 11:15

Late night heart melting, hand wringing phone calls
Yes, I had a call a few weeks back around 8pm (!) when working late, from a Scottish lady announcing herself as from "Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs" (a bit like "Her Majesty's Press" in The New Statesman TV show). She said "I want to go through your client's tax record but before we start, I need to ask you some security questions". I said, hang on, you called me - I should be asking the security questions. She said, "Oh - can you call me back then on this 0845 number" (which is not on the published list of HMRC numbers). Didn't bother & haven't heard anything more yet but do believe it to have been debt recovery.

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By Anonymous
22nd Jun 2009 12:44

We always have been unpaid collectors
Ever since the advent of PAYE all employers have been unpaid collectors of tax. The difference between employers and HMRC collectors is that we are subject to increasing draconian penalties if we get wrong.

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By Anonymous
22nd Jun 2009 12:44

Chasing Self Assessment Returns
I have received two telephone calls from the Collector of Taxes chasing 2007/08 Self Assessment Tax Returns which have not been submitted. They were at great pains to point out that a surcharge had been incurred and interest would be running on the tax due - as if I was not aware of this!

This is the first time I have received such a call.

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By Anonymous
22nd Jun 2009 13:55

yes - they are called Telephone pursuit unit
and no one else in HMRC CT departments seems to know who they are.

Typically the callers try to do the tedious security thing - but I then insist on checking their credentials - this sometimes makes them ring off - but then I mainly act dumb and tell them to look up the client and call them direct. The callers obviously know nothing about tax.

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22nd Jun 2009 14:06

Father Jack had the appropriate response..
One which I would be happy to emulate.

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By Anonymous
23rd Jun 2009 08:20

TAX COLLECTION
Yes, a similar thing happened to me one night about 6 months ago (about 7.45) when someone called asking me to chase a client's PAYE liability. Certainly we run the payroll and receive correspondence on behalf of the client, but that's it as far as I am concerned. He became threatening (i.e "if they don't pay immediately they can expect recovery action"). I said he should contact the client direct in the normal way please as I do not do HMRC's job. He was unable to counter that and the conversation ended amicably. I heard no more, but did mention it to the client who duly received further chasers.

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23rd Jun 2009 08:59

Tim Kingcott
Yes I received one the other day regarding overdue corporation tax.

He mentioned the client name and I asked if I needed to pull out the file-to which the answer was that I may not need it. He went on to talk about the overdue debt.

I mentioned that I do not usually get involved with the payment side and advised him to ring the client.
To which he replied to the effect that I was was the person he had been asked to call.

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By lizmoss
23rd Jun 2009 12:54

But there is a plus side
I have had quite a few of these calls. In several cases, I was able to point out that the amounts they were chasing weren't actually due (either they had already been paid, or HMRC had made an error (shock horror!)).

I was glad they called me first because I was able to put the record straight without my clients being worried or upset by the call from HMRC.

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