Preece wins £100 penalty tribunal

A man who lost his job has won a four-year battle to overturn a £100 penalty for the late submission of a Self Assessment tax return. Nick Huber reports.

Derek Allen, director of taxation at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, wrote in a blog that HMRC should “hang its head in shame” over a dispute which showed the taxman’s capacity for “maladministration and lack of judgment.”

The first-tier tribunal case (David Preece and the commissioners for HMRC, TC01887) focused on whether a £100 penalty for a late Self Assessment return could be collected.

Continued...

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Comments

An HMRC spokesperson ....

Peter Tucker | | Permalink

Also suggested that

  • Jelly stick to the ceiling
  • Fairies live at the bottom of gardens
  • The tooth fairy is real

They did not say that there is now no one responsible for anything within the HMRC organisation, from senior management through to porters.

Richard Bacon MP recently asked Mr M Shipp, senior manager in HMRC, the following question:

“If all PAYE electronic Data has to pass HMRC’s own validation before it is accepted, how can HMRC claim there is any Dirty Data passed from Employers?”

The answer was “er well” and “RTI”

Ms Homer and Mr Shipp got away with this.

How has this battle taken    1 thanks

Martin@Stopfords | | Permalink

How has this battle taken four years, did he not receive this penalty in June 2011?

"A man who lost his job has won a four-year battle to overturn a £100 penalty for the late submission of a Self Assessment tax return.""

"By June 2011, Preece had received a penalty notice for £100"

 

 

It's shameful    1 thanks

Roland St Clere... | | Permalink

How many times have we heard "...we are determined to learn lessons when we make mistakes." and "... we apologise", not only from HMR & C but all the other state and private instututions who have behaved so badly.

Apologies are no longer good enough. Those responsible should loose their jobs and pensions. No doubt their friends at Goldman Sachs and Vodafone will see them okay.

 

 

 

Robbas's picture

Consequences    3 thanks

Robbas | | Permalink

Until HMRC employees are made responsible for their actions these situations will continue as in most other civil service departments. The costs of these cases should come out of the salaries and pensions budgets, that way the people responsible will have a financial consequence. if its not their money they don't care.

Paula Sparrow's picture

The story begins in March 2008

Paula Sparrow | | Permalink

<a href="mailto:Martin@Stopfords" rel="nofollow">Martin@Stopfords</a> wrote:

How has this battle taken four years, did he not receive this penalty in June 2011?

"A man who lost his job has won a four-year battle to overturn a £100 penalty for the late submission of a Self Assessment tax return.""

"By June 2011, Preece had received a penalty notice for £100"

 

 

 

The taxpayer thought he had paid too much tax on his redundancy payment which he received in April 2008.  HMRC did their usual foul up and told him he had £2k to pay.  He has been trying to sort it out ever since, with just cock up after cock up making it ever messier.  The Baillie report is well worth a read

Paula Sparrow's picture

Training

Paula Sparrow | | Permalink

Robbas wrote:

Until HMRC employees are made responsible for their actions these situations will continue as in most other civil service departments. The costs of these cases should come out of the salaries and pensions budgets, that way the people responsible will have a financial consequence. if its not their money they don't care.

I believe we are seeing the result of the cut backs in training coming to fruition.  Staff no longer have the knowledge to grasp the implication of their actions.  They are given a script to work to and are generally not permitted to stray outside of that script.  Some work blindly on exactly in accordance with instructions, others, perhaps more experienced, can see the car crash coming, but their hands are tied behind their backs leaving them unable to apply the brakes.

Only this morning I had a conversation with a Revenue employee about an enquiry notice into a 2010 Tax Return.  They were querying why pension income reported was £55k whilst the P14s they have received total £48k.  If anyone had read the information in the white space of the Return the pensions are broken down on there - AS REQUIRED.  However, this muppet could not grasp the concept that we had already supplied the information on the return and if they had done their job properly the enquiry need not have been raised.  He could only focus on the standard response that the P14s did not add up to the same as the pension declared on the return and kept to his guns. 

weaversmiths's picture

Irresponsibility

weaversmiths | | Permalink

If HMRC went back to the caseworker pattern of working instead of "off the pile" (via a computer) the person responsible could be held to account.  As it stands no one cares a flying fish what happens.  Lack of responsibility abounds at all levels.

 

TheAncientOne

Out of Proportion    2 thanks

Springfield | | Permalink

What worries me about this shambles is that HMR&C were happy to pursue this case as far as they could in an attempt to enforce just £100.  At no stage of the process did anyone at HMR&C seemed capable or empowered to look at the correspondence and ask "Why are we doing this?" 

 

 

Paula Sparrow's picture

context

Paula Sparrow | | Permalink

Springfield wrote:

What worries me about this shambles is that HMR&C were happy to pursue this case as far as they could in an attempt to enforce just £100.  At no stage of the process did anyone at HMR&C seemed capable or empowered to look at the correspondence and ask "Why are we doing this?" 

 

 

Yes, £100 is a very small sum to bother with a tribunal, but if you multiply that by the several thousand late returns each year it makes more sense.  The more cases they can get through the tribunals, the more likely people are to just pay up.  Once HMRC have made the "no reasonable excuse" decision, they cannot then be seen to say don't worry because we can't be bothered to argue over £100

Agree with the "£100 times    2 thanks

Springfield | | Permalink

Agree with the "£100 times several thousand" point.  However, any right-minded person reading the Ballie report will have no trouble distinguishing between a tax-payer who has tried his utmost to sort this out in a reasonable way and a dysfunctional bullying and apparently unaccountable organisation who made error after error in this case, the final error being to pursue this into the public domain where they now look stupid - all for £100.

It's not that a win for HMR&C would have strengthened their hand on late returns, it's a case that - once the facts were set out - they were never going to win and the fact it was over £100 makes it absurd.

Nick Graves's picture

Typical case    1 thanks

Nick Graves | | Permalink

I cannot see anything out of the ordinary about it; about the usual treatment for an average taxpayer.

HMRC seems to think so too; it's always everyone's fault but theirs.

 

 

And in the meantime?

The Black Knight | | Permalink

£100K of tax evasion slipped through the net ?

HMRC apparatchiks    1 thanks

David Gordon FCCA | | Permalink

The sad thing is there are still live intelligent persons working for HMRC, but they are being overwhelmed by undertrained and incompetent ninnies.

Wednesday last was a revelation..

I had a client whose CIS refund was well overdue, and a "Muppet" had sent out out another irrelevant letter/ form.

I called into the CIS help line, and to my delight got an HMRC officer who understood tax, who understood that the refund was not just a number, but was x weeks rent and groceries. . She saw the problem, fixed it, and this afternoon the refund hit my practice client's bank account.

It just demonstrates that Muppetry is not an incurable HMRC disease.

 

Hunt on

The Black Knight | | Permalink

David Gordon FCCA wrote:

I called into the CIS help line, and to my delight got an HMRC officer who understood tax, who understood that the refund was not just a number, but was x weeks rent and groceries. . She saw the problem, fixed it, and this afternoon the refund hit my practice client's bank account.

It just demonstrates that Muppetry is not an incurable HMRC disease.

The hunt is now on to find this individual before it spreads and causes any more work.

Let's see how much you've learnt then

mikewhit | | Permalink

We are determined to learn lessons when we make mistakes.

Further to an earlier post, let's make it a legal requirement when any public body makes this statement, that it is required to publish a list of the avoidable mistakes that occurred in the relevant incident, and a corresponding list of the measures or practices now in place to counter each item.

Additionally the Office of Learned Lessons must be notified to track implementation and any changes to the measures and procedures.

Just then Alice woke up. It had all been a dream.