I am sure most readers will be aware that care has to be taken when establishing the total amount of state pension to include in tax returns where the actual pension advice is not seen. In particular, clients (and junior tax staff) sometimes calculate the figure by taking the monthly amount and multiplying by twelve whereas the payments should be multiplied by thirteen to give 52 weeks. Also, there is usually one payment that straddles the end of each tax year which is different to the usual 4-weekly amount, adding to client/staff confusion. So to ensure that we have included the 52 weeks attributable to the particular tax year we usually have to speak to the client to find out the correct weekly amount.
During such a discussion with a client, I realised that there were in fact 53 Mondays in 2008/09 so the total should be 53 times the weekly amount for that year. My problem is that when we include 53 weeks we invariably arrive at a figure greater than that used in PAYE coding notices. It seems that the Revenue may have used 52 weeks although the few cases I have looked at do not seem to match up precisely. If it is widespread practice of the Revenue to include only 52 weeks, many non-self-assessment taxpayers will have underpaid tax in 2008/09. So, on the basis that all taxpayers should be treated equally, are there grounds for excluding the extra week in 2008/09 SA cases?