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HMRC bullying and Harassment

We have been given a VAT assessment which is highly inaccurate and the VAT man is making this a personal vendetta by not allowing or workng with any accountant I appoint to resolve the issue.

They have entered the property to take reports by threatening my partner and staff when they were not in and now claims that partner was in. He has been very aggressive when he is dealing with my accountants and he has had other information about both me and my partner through other departments which has made his judgement against us as such we have not been treated fairly. Does anyone know where we can go to harassment and unfair treatment by HMRC staff? Has anyone taken on them on for these type issues?

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avatar
17th Apr 2012 13:13

Some ideas

I have some suggestions which have worked for me when VAT people were railroading a client of mine in November into making immediate payment via debit card or they'd wind up her company.  On my advice she made no payment and has seen no winding up order 5 months down the road.

Agent Account Manager service

This is pretty much the only part of HMRC I have any respect left for.  it consists of experienced people who can look across more than one tax and are capable of seeing further than the end of their noses - in other words, pretty unique people in HMRC 2012 style.

In my case, the AAM agreed that the VAT credit control people had overstepped the mark in the meetings and their intimadatory tactics.  She agreed to do what she could.  I cannot say for sure that this helped, but I can say for sure that my client has not had to face any more meetings with them.

Put it in writing

I followed up my meeting in writing to the head of the office concerned.  I named the individuals who had attended.  I put down in writing the proposals we had made during the meeting, which the HMRC attendees said were inadequate but then refused to define what they considered adequate other than 100% and immediate payment in full by debit card or credit card.

This letter was mainly for my client's benefit.  It spelled out:

1.  Who from HMRC I reagrded as the problem.

2.  The consequences in my professional opinion to UK's tax revenues if the winding up proceeded - 10 new signers-up on JSA, lost VAT and PAYE revenues, etc.

3.  The offers we had made in the meeting, and which we now made in writing.

4.  The steps I would consider taking if commonsense did not break out, such as going to the press or my client's MP.

Critically, this letter went to a named senior HMRC individual and made it clear - without spelling it out - that I was holding that person accountable for any consequences.  The one thing no-one in HMRC ever wants to do is take personal responsibility for anything, put them in that position whenever you can!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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avatar
17th Apr 2012 13:22

I agree with Mr Mischief

but I would send any letter by Special Delivery and advise them that your client will seek the remedies available under the Prevention from Harrassment Act 1997.

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avatar
17th Apr 2012 13:29

Complaining to HMRC

This page from HMRC's website should help:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/complaints-appeals/

There are strict timescales for dealing with complaints and ultimately appeal to the Adjudicator.

 

 

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If it's genuine harrassment...

... to which the Prevention of Harrassment Act applies, a criminal offence has been committed and you're entitled to file a complaint with the Police Complaints Commission who are the ultimate regulators of HMRC's compliance activity.

There is though, considerable difference between nuisance and harrasment.

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18th Apr 2012 10:10

@Steve
I was unaware that the Police Complaints Commission are the ultimate regulators of HMRC's compliance activity.

That is very useful information indeed. Can you please let us have a note of the legislation regading this?

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@Nigel

"Ultimate regulators of HMRC's compliance activity" probably wasn't quite the right way to express it, but the legislative source is S.28 of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005.

The IPCC will investigate serious complaints against HMRC, which can only really emanate from compliance activity. In order for the IPCC to investigate a complaint a criminal offence needs to be alleged, and harrassment is a criminal offence.

See also the IPCC's website on this.

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18th Apr 2012 10:43

@Steve

Many thanks - that is one to print out to go on my "useful facts" file.

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Re: HMRC Harassment

Sorry to hear about your post and harassment by HMRC. Can make a complaint if they continue to bully and harass.

Eamon Mc Nicholas

Tax Barrister

www.EamonMcNicholas.com

[Liability is excluded. The above is not to be taken nor used as specific advice.] 

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