Debt management

We are getting threating letters addressed to our clients by the office of a firm of solicitors (drydensfairfax) to whom HMRC has outsourced the task of debt collection.

The information on which the solicitors is acting is often out of date, resulting from a delay on the part of HMRC in informing the solicitors.  In a particular example the debt was settled in full on 15 March 2012 (duly acknowledged in online statements) and yet the solicitors have sent out a letter dated 02 May 2012 threatening dire consequences for continued non-payment.  Fortunately this is a Corporation Tax liability for a company of which we are the registered office and we were able to intercept the correspondence before the fan got contaminated by sewage.

The problem is compounded by the fact that agent authorities in place with HMRC are not handed down to the third party collection agencies, so we are unable to speak to them on behalf of our clients unless we misrepresent ourselves as actually being the taxpayers.

Being solicitors, one would hope that they are aware of exposure to criminal charges if they undertake a pattern of threatening attempts to collect a debt which is not due and which they ought to know is not due, by reason of sections 2 and 3 of the protection from harrassment act and section 40 of the administration of justice act.

Perhaps there has to be a delay of sorts in filtering updated information to the solicitors, but from the above experience the extent of the delay is unreasonable.

At the very least, in my opinion an agent authority in place with HMRC should be regarded as extended to outsourced companies acting on their behalf.

 

Comments
petersaxton's picture

One step forward two steps back

petersaxton | | Permalink

It would appear that while HMRC improve one area they mess up other areas.

carnmores's picture

its simple dealimg with these blood suckers

carnmores | | Permalink

report the to the SRA everytime and copy them in - they will soon desist 

@Carnmores

vinylnobbynobbs | | Permalink

SRA? Sorry am being dim.
I still think that HMR&C are breaching the Official Secrets Act.

Catti's picture

One step forward? Where?

Catti | | Permalink

An improvement? Oh please do tell - I have only seen more mess-ups.

petersaxton's picture

One example

petersaxton | | Permalink

They reduced the time to register for VAT.

weaversmiths's picture

More than 2 steps back

weaversmiths | | Permalink

Had cause to send two Complaints off today. One for harrassment of a client who doesn't owe the money and the other for badmouthing me on the telephone to a client regarding CIS Returns which, they claim, have not been sent in monthly (they have and luckily  have proof). 

Why cant they just do the job, plain and simple.  Like I say about our, so called, Police Force - If you want respect you have to give it.

TheAncientOne

petersaxton's picture

My clients' views

petersaxton | | Permalink

Sometimes I have new clients who I can't quickly get authorised to act. The client has to phone HMRC to get something done. The client always comes back and says that they don't know how I put up with HMRC because they always tell them to phone a different department who then tell them to phone the first department who then tells them that something can't be done but clients don't have the knowledge to stop all this nonsense.

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