Life is tough on the front line of accountancy. For more than five years, our intrepid correspondent has been bringing us news and views from a typical West Country practice.
HMRC computers gone mad?
A strange week. On Monday a London firm of accountants forwarded me a letter addressed to them as the registered office of a company we took over many years ago - with a predictably snooty comment on the compliments slip. The letter was from HMRC Debt Management department, chasing overdue Corporation Tax. It seemed a bit odd as the registered office and trading address were updated on HMRC's file years ago.
I thought nothing more of it until yesterday when a client handed me a letter forwarded to him by his previous accountant, same source and same story although the registered office and sender's address were in a completely different part of the UK.
Today a client has faxed me a strange PAYE letter, apparently addressed to the director although it addresses him as "Mr Smith J Smith" (not actually Smith, I have changed it to preserve his anonymity!). The address used was out of date, and it quotes an eight character temporary-looking National Insurance number!
So it looks to me as though HMRC computer systems have had some sort of major meltdown - they seem to have some very dodgy taxpayer information on their files, and a very out of date address database that Debt Management offices are using. Has anyone else had similar problems?
Incidentally, I tried phoning the number on Mr Smith J Smith's letter only to hear a recorded message that told me my call couldn't be dealt with and then promptly hung up!