compensation for fees due to HMRC data loss

Can I claim fees from HMRC and if so then how?

We submitted our client's 2006-07 Employers Annual Return. It was submitted by recorded post and arrived on 25th May and therefore "on time" due to the additional seven days given. We had intended to submit online however client's filing code did not turn up until 28 May and we did not want to risk being late.

In September 2007 we received a £400 penalty and immediately appealed attaching the evidence including the signed for proof of recorded delivery. The appeal was in itself submitted by recorded post

We heard nothing until December when HMRC sent baliffs to our client to collect the penalty which by now had increased . Strangely the baliffs handed my client a statement which showed the amount of PAYE due of £2,100 (as declared on the Annual Return which they say that they had not received. The PAYE of £2,100 shown in any event paid on time on 17 May 2007)

I then on my xmas break had to telephone HMRC and spoke to a member of staff who had recently completed their "customer service" training, and who eventually deigned to inform me that they had not received the return and they had no record of the appeal. They agreed to a stay on futher balif action.I immediately then faxed a copy of the appeal and wrote again, enclosing previous appeal etc, yet again by recorded delivery.

I heard nothing until March when a further penalty notice was received. Following a telephone call at this point HMRC agreed to cancel the penalty and followed up in writingo this effect, and apologised for their errors and to be fair sent a copy to our client.

Can I claim my fees for this incident and similar incidents that might recur in future. I have not in the past attempted to claim costs however this incident took the biscuit and cost at normal charge rates in excess of £400 to resolve. By all accounts these incidences are not infrequent?

Thank you for your comments.

the alchemist

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