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.
More random tax nastiness
Not the first one of these I've seen, but they're still very distressing to clients. I reckon they are a piece of gratuitous nastiness on the part of HMRC.
Client phoned this morning, clearly very upset, to say he had received a threatening tax demand in the post, from the HMRC Debt Management department, telling him they would take legal action or distraint if he didn't pay his overdue tax immediately. IMMEDIATELY was the actual word.
Snag is, the amount on the demand was blank, just £ ! The client claimed to have no idea that he owed anything, and I confirmed that from our tax return system. I then went online using my HMRC Agent's login and discovered that he owed £400 of late filing penalties, which he duly paid online to clear the account.
But that's not the whole of the story. When he received the letter he immediately phoned Debt Management on the number on the letter and - yes, regular Diary readers will already be ahead of the rest of you on this one - they wouldn't tell him how much he had to pay. "Sorry sir, data protection, we can't give you that information over the phone"! Aaagh!!
The unanswered question remains - could they have issued a distraint order for £ ?
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Quick SA progress report: we're making progress, but still a long way to go. It's going to be a busy second half of January.