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Bad Attitude from HMRC for spreading tax payments

Bad Attitude from HMRC for spreading tax payments

I know many of you have stories of how ignorant & unhelpful HMRC can be, but when I met my client at the week-end I was amazed at a conversation he had with them in January. My client had a really serious accident in November and didn't get back to work for several months. As he wasn't earning for a few months he had to eat into the money he had put aside for his tax. He rang HMRC to ask if he could pay his £2,500 tax he owed,  in instalments. He offered to pay £1,200 straight away and then split the remaining balance over the following 2 months. This is how the conversation went:-

Client: Is it possible for me to spread my payments over the next few months to clear my self assessment tax I owe.

Nasty HMRC Man: You haven't got the god given right you know!

Client: I'm aware of that but I don't have funds available to pay what is due.

Nasty HMRC Man: Why not?

Client: I had a really bad accident and have been unable to work for several months.

Nasty HMRC Man: Have you got any assets? Could you not re-mortgage your house?

Client: What just for £2,500.

Nasty HMRC Man: What about your Van or tools, could you not sell any of them to pay your debt?

Client: If I do that you won't get any money at all will you, as I won't be able to get to work or have the equipment I need to do the job.

Nasty HMRC Man: Ok, but if you pay £1,200 now, you have to pay the balance next month.

After various discussions he finally agreed a payment plan he knew he could stick to, but I am gobsmacked, what gives HMRC, 'the god given right', to be so rude and unhelpful. They say you must ring them if you know you will have difficulty paying and then they treat you like s**t.

I know some of you will probably have other stories to tell, but I just had to share this one!

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28th May 2012 16:37

I think it depends if you speak to Debt Management section (a*******s)whose details are on the HMRC chasing letters or to the Time To Pay section, who I have always found very helpful & understanding

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28th May 2012 18:19

Make an offer, confirm it in writing, and stick to it.

 

HMRC have a choice - accept it, or take the client to court.  If the client has made an offer which is reasonable in all the circumstances then the court will simply rubber stamp it, and probably award costs against HMRC if the court thinks their bringing it to court was unreasonable. The offer you outlined of half now and the balance over 2 months is more than reasonable. Besides, by the time HMRC got it to court it would all have been paid and they would look very stupid indeed.

Incidently, even a court cannot order anyone to sell the tools of their trade, so Mr HMRC was clearly something of a "tool" himself to even suggest it.  Grounds for a complaint if ever I saw them.

 

 

 

 

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By Flash Gordon
28th May 2012 19:49

I must be the only one...

who gets relatively polite people every time I talk to HMRC. Agreed they sometimes know less than they should but they're fairly normal about it. The last one I spoke to was positively chilled out....

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Accountant A
28th May 2012 22:15

i found o/p story quite tame....

Flash Gordon wrote:

who gets relatively polite people every time I talk to HMRC. Agreed they sometimes know less than they should but they're fairly normal about it. The last one I spoke to was positively chilled out....

When compared to the imbeciles I get, paying on a credit card, remortgaging for a couple of grand (forgetting the conversation about how hard it is to get money even with good security) and selling assets are regular suggestions.

Regards

MtF

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By BKD
28th May 2012 20:50

Same experience here, Flash

Some will try to hammer down as short as period as possible, but I've yet to come across anyone as rude as in the OP's example. Just lucky, I guess.

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