Badly worded correspondence from HMRC
I received, not one, but two letters from HMRC PAYE and SA at Newcastle dated 17 April 2012 worded exactly the same for the same client which included the following paragraphs:
"This means that your client no longer needs to be in self assessment and that we do not need them to fill in a tax return for the year ended 5 April 2011. We will cancel the penalty that we charged them for not filing this tax return by the filing deadline. "
This is part of a letter taking the client out of SA for 2012, but:
a) The client's SA for 2011 was successfully submitted on 18 August 2011; and
b) No penalty has been charged.
When I contacted HMRC about this I was told to "Just ignore those words as the SA for 2011 has gone in anyway"!
Whilst I am over the moon at receiving, not one but two letters from HMRC (saying the same thing for the same client, both signed by the same assistant officer), when I have struggled to get replies to correspondence for months on other matters, I am so fed up with the amount of time we have to waste checking things out because of the extremely badly worded standard letters being generated from H M Revenue and Customs. If a copy of this letter goes to the client they then think that we have not done our jobs and filed the return for them. It is very hard to convince an obstinate pensioner that what the HMRC has written does not apply to them. Surely in this day and age the HMRC can pick out paragraphs to exclude from their standard letters can't they? Why do HMRC need to refer to 2011 at all when they are taking the client out of SA for 2012? Don't their wordsmiths consider the impact of what they are writing?