Any Answers debate: Who's cheating the taxpayer?

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Nichola Ross Martin touched a nerve recently when she asked in Any Answers why HMRC was so reluctant to send out a list of PAYE payments made to accountants.

Ross Martin made an error when paying HMRC on behalf of a client through online banking. She accidentally left out part of a PAYE reference where amounts were allocated to the previous year and to ‘suspense’.

HMRC’s debt management and banking team then contacted her about alleged underpayments, but refused to provide a list of payments received. She was unable to see which payments were lost and work out why that had happened. 

On attempting to get in touch with both the debt management and banking team...

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Come on

did you really expect anything different from a crumbling organisation. They won't even send you details of what CIS returns are held on LTD companies. So what did happen to agent strategy? Oh yes it will only be for those that HMRC deem fit for purpose. Now there's a laugh.

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Totally agree!

We have always found it bizarre that our Payroll colleagues have far less payment information than we do on the Corporation Tax and Personal Tax HMRC online systems. I raised it with our Working Together group over two years ago and was told there was 'no budget' available for change. Recently, however, the situation has worsened and, as described in the article, the Agent and Employer online systems show different figures to the Tax Office, making phone calls attempting to clarify liabilities difficult to say the least!

Surely, a small amount of money invested in improving Agent and Employer access to payment information would repay itself so many times over instead of the endless phone calls and letters wasted by all parties on this?

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I am sick and tired of dealing with HMRC who have everything their way and see us in the profession as at best an irritant and at worst wholescale tax avoiders.

When are they going to wake up to the fact that this broken system can only be fixed with our help and goodwill together with their acceptance that every issue needs a single point of reference who will own the problem (whatever it is) and bring it to conclusion. This is why the agent account maintainers are so helpful becuase they have to see the problem through and stand behind the actions they are taking.

It is collaboration not conflict that will mend this bad machine - I am rapidly losing patience with their intransigence.

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PAYE payments

I too am deeply annoyed at the fact that the tax man will NOT give us a printout of the client's payroll PAYE payments as they used to .  I am not sure what or who they are protecting but recently I had to tell the client that as this is the system the tax payer is footing the bill rather than the individual client as we cannot check the payments.  Also recently I have just dumped all the payments schedules on the  tax office and waited for their reply.  Sadly the left hand does not seem to know what the other side is doing and we get aggressive demands coming from debt collection when they will NOT deal with the problem itself.  What a mess!

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HMRC tax collection

These cases will be the tip of the iceberg. HMRC are flexing muscles given to them but which they do not deserve. An exceptionally poor organisation.

We had a situation last year where a 64-8 was sent in on behalf of a client and someone took it upon themselves to change our agent address to this new client address. This resulted in hundreds of statements of account, etc. for other clients being sent to this new client! I sent a strongly worded letter of complaint and got a wishy washy response and a cheque in compensation for £100. This self imposed "penalty" pales into insignificance when we see the ridiculous amounts in penalties being imposed on taxpayers for very simple errors being made.

It's time the profession grew a pair and fought back.

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Simple solution

Why not simply request the information under the data protection route with the small charge and the time limit. Problem solved.

Play them at their own ruddy  game.

Their stupidity  is totally unacceptable but then what else would you  expect.



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paye overpayments

this is very true,, i had a client who had overpaid in 2012-13.. HMRC wrote to me to show cause why he had overpaid and why we believe he had overpaid.. we had to go back and reproduce the schedule and show that it was a banking error.. we have now asked them since we have submitted our schedule,for them to  provide their schedule .. We await. and wait and wait..


Thanks Ross Martin

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I was told that they don't give out details because they don't have sufficient staff, but if you write in and give them a schedule of the payments they will check it and let you know the differences. Obviously that takes far less time?

They also told me they only record what the client sends and that they don't make mistakes.The May payment in 2013 was arbitarely re allocated to 2012 to clear the arrears. They didn't let the client know that had happened. How are we supposed to be able to reconcile the clients tax liability if they don't tell us what they are doing.

On another occasion the client paid his corporation tax but omitted the reference and HMRC decided it must be PAYE even though that created an over-payment for the year. It took three hours of hanging on the telephone to finally determine what had happened. 

I am old enough to remember having local inspectors that you could talk to and genuinely felt that the Inland Revenue and us wanted the same thing .... a taxpayer paying the correct amount of tax. There seemed to be a spirit of co-operation. Now I feel more often than not that HMRC regard the accountancy profession as the enemy and their main drive is to take as much as they can from taxpayers whether it is due or not.   



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Yes the good old days.


I think we are at war with them to be quite honest.

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PAYE schedule

I eventually got a listing for a client - 10 1/2 months after I requested it, typed on a letter. Why could they not just click and print? It showed, as suspected, misallocations and a repayment due to my client. That took a further 4 months to get back, but it did eventually arrive. He was happy as he got money he didn't really expect. I just pulled out a few of my remaining hairs.

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PAYE statements

Totally agree.

This issue has taken up so much of my time on the phone and letter writing.

I have clients who HMRC say have overpaid previous years but they refuse to refund without an explanation. How can we do that if HMRC will not say what payments they have received?

It would be so much easier if agents had access to the same information that employers can get if they enroll for online services.

When will we get an agent line for PAYE (and VAT) so we don't have to wait an age and work through endless messages.

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Agent lines


When will we get an agent line for PAYE (and VAT) so we don't have to wait an age and work through endless messages.

... and for CT as well

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HMRC send client a letter saying they have overpaid for 2011/12.


Mysteriously, the online PAYE record for that year is blacked out and we cannot access it.


We phone PAYE accounts office to request list of PAYE payments HMRC have on record, only to be told we need to write in and request it, which we do.


A letter arrive from HMRC Banking saying client should keep a  record of payments made and asking us for a list of payments (precisely what we had asked them for).


Crazy waste of time for us and HMRC.

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Personally experienced!

Having had problems in the past in respect of our own PAYE scheme with HMRC mis-posting electronic payments, I reverted back to paying by cheque - on time - every month without fail.  Six days after month 11 was due I received a call from a very rude man asking questions about whether the liability had been paid, the cheque number etc and with a final flourish of "Has the cheque cleared your bank account?".  I checked whilst he was still on the phone and confirmed that it had to which he responded "Thank you for your help" and hung up - no apology, no attempt to find out why HMRC systems led  him to believe that the liability had not been paid.

A week later I received a demand by post!  I rang to speak to the debt management team who confirmed that a payment had been received for the correct amount and on time but that it was "locked" whatever that may mean.  The person was very helpful and "unlocked" the payment.

These people are about to delve into people's bank accounts for "unpaid" amounts.  The harm that this will cause to businesses does not bear thinking about!




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HMRC policy

it is HMRC policy not to provide this information - as we should know exactly what our client has paid, when, under what reference and most importantly we should know what HMRC has done with it.  If you can pass these tests, then you are allowed this privileged information - i.e. they may confirm we are correct.

I don't understand all the fuss we keep making about this.

my current favourite is to submit the end of year paye submission that will contain details of cis tax suffered and to be offset, this information may magically be available by 19th April to enable a correct return to be made.

then we have the fun of trying to get the cis overpayment back from HMRC - as then you must provide an explanation of what happened, losing points along the way if you dare to use any kind of excuse - especially one that says the system doesn't quite work.

time to bring back 'the lump'?


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It seems that there is one rule for the taxpayer and another for HMRC. I am struggling to recover PAYE overpaid by a client when duties were re-assigned and some payments were duplicated. If HMRC accidentally overpays a taxpayer, even though we accountants may have given all the information necessary, the taxpayer is obliged to return the overpayment to HMRC under the Thefts Act. Perhaps we should use the same Act to extract refunds from HMRC. Would a claim in the small claims court be the answer?

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The Enemy

We have a client who overpaid PAYE during the 2012/13 tax year and HMRC wrote to tell us this had happened but would not repay without knowing why the overpayment had occurred.  We have resorted to registering as the employer rather than the agent for PAYE so that we can view the dashboard.  We have been able to view all payments and reconcile our records to agree the exact amount of overpayment.  We have written our reply and are currently awaiting the refund - hopefully that is what will arrive and not a further request for more information.  I really despair dealing with HMRC and dread having to speak to their voice recognition software.

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We have had a lot of these and in all cases it was a HMRC error

That is why they don't want to give you the information.

They are also unable to reconcile these amounts (because that's what a skilled accountant does, I know we take these skills for granted)

On one case where it wasn't obvious without the information HMRC refused to give us a list of payments they had received, Insisted that we provide them with our information first which we did. Then it all had to come back to us because they couldn't reconcile. It was easy. As to be expected it was their error.

The amount of time they waste because of sheer stupidity would be better spent on chasing criminals, Tax evaders. Although if they can't manage a PAYE reconciliation they have no hope in an enquiry. We have seen some really basic lack of tax knowledge there too. Just wastes every ones time and money.

On the other hand you would be amazed at what the evaders get away with.

Still if the top of the organisation (MP's) exibit criminal behaviour and view this as acceptable then no wonder firm culture allows criminals to do as they wish.


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Are HMRC public servants - PAYE payments

In a past life I have been both a Collector of Taxes and An HM Insp of Taxes.  It was always important in the departments eyes that you dealt fairly with all taxpayers as you were a public servant. HMRC seem to have forgotten this basic fact.

I have a dyslexic client who puts the correct payment ref but in the wrong order or year! This  produces an error at year end. HMRC are as other readers HMRC refuse to provide a list of payments made.

It seems crazy that an employer can use the dashboard and see a list of payments although other readers have stated this is not always the case for closed years. However an agent whio can see various tax payments .but cannot see PAYE payments. When queried HMRC helpdesk advised there were no plans to provide online PAYE payment information for agents. This is crazy. In most cases agents sort out under and overpayments and access to PAYE payments would mean less manpower requirements by HMRC and reduce their costs. The information is already there.

HMRC Charter   published 26 Feb 2013 includes (points extracted)

5 Be professional and act with integrity

Whenever you deal with us we will take responsibility for our actions and behave in a professional way.

we will respond to your enquiries and resolve any problems as soon as we can

7 Protect your information and respect your privacy

We recognise we have privileged access to your information. We will only ask you for information we need to do our jobs. We will protect that information.

We will: give you the information we hold about you when you ask for it, as long as the law lets us

8. Accept that someone else can represent you

You may want someone else to deal with us on your behalf. To protect your privacy, we will only deal with them if they have been authorised to represent you.

We will:

• respect your representative’s right to act for you and deal with them appropriately

9. Do all we can to keep the cost of dealing with us as low as possible

We aim to take up as little of your time and money as we can.

We will: try to make our services straightforward and easy to access


HMRC seem to be failing on all these items. Perhaps we should remind them when they refuse information. They are still public servants and head office do not like MP complaints.

Interestingly I could not find the charter on the HMRC website or in its search engine. I had to Google and found it inmmediately on the site!


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So easy to fix

As mentioned above, if we had the same access to account history via the agent portal as clients get directly through their own gateway codes, and if we had priority lines for all the taxes instead of just self-assessment, the result would be less work for HMRC and better service for the clients as queries would be handled more quickly and (from HMRC's viewpoint) with a more-knowledgeable person representing the client.

That still wouldn't fix my biggest gripe, which is about CIS deductions from limited company receipts, where HMRC want cross-referenced bank statements and copies of deduction sheets whenever there's a discrepancy in the total. If we had a list of what is in their system we can just provide proof of what's missing instead of documentation of every single transaction.

HMRC would benefit the most from supplying the required information - they are stretched enough as it is. Just anoth excuse to hang on to taxpayers' money as long as they can methinks!

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Given up to get overpayment back

I am one of the disgruntled Accounting Web members who shared this experience and received the advice to go the small claims court. I tried to reconcile all payments with income tax demands and finally gave up as I could not see how the overpayment occurred. I suspected that it had something to do with a credit we received for moving PAYE online some time ago which was carried forward into the next periods. I spent many hours and finally gave up on getting £160 back as they wanted an explanation and proof for the overpayment as a response to my request for a statement. It was too stressful and time-consuming. As someone pointed out, I am deeply concerned about the HMRC's latest gain of power to just help themselves from a taxpayer's bank account. It could kill small businesses as most keeping tight cash-flow management. 

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I was wondering under what part of the TMA (or any other Act for that matter) does HMRC have the right to withhold a repayment when it is a clear overpayment.  For example, where a client has clearly made - in  a short space of time - a duplicate payment in error.  It's bonkers to be asked for evidence as to why the overpayment was made - human error. 

I was once asked for evidence of telephone conversation - didn't know whether to scream or laugh at the impossibility.

Should the profession take a class action against HMRC for damages for all our wasted hours and frustrations?  

Now there's a thought.


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Like pulling teeth!

I have several clients who had been managing their own payroll making manual calculations and paying monthly, I frequently found at the end of year that calculations had errors resulting in overpayments and in almost all of these cases we now manage their payrolls.  The resulting overpayments have never been refunded or reallocated and ongoing communication has been slow, on average response to our letters takes 6 months at which point the case appears to have been passed to another person who requests the same information, an explanation for how the miscalculation arose!  One case has been going on for 4 years now!

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The Enemy

I did once require to get a statement of payments made and refunds received from HMRC going back over several years. Despite making payments as notified by them and receiving the refunds as I had requested, this form bore no relation to either. I assumed that their allocation of payments and refunds may have referred to the year in which they arose. They were allocated to neither the financial year,the lunar year or any other year imaginable. After many fruitless attempts at reconciling this document, I gave up and forwarded my calculation showing that rather than owe money my client was due a repayment. They had the good grace to make this, but with no comment or apology.

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I echo all the above .....

.... and have posted similar comments on other threads here.

Requesting under Freedom of Information/Data Protection did not work. I have concluded that HMRC cut the staff before they introduced the online systems.

I have resorted to asking employer clients to get their online access then send me their login details. The first I looked at showed just how weirdly HMRC were allocating the payments and I anticipate interesting times ahead!

As for why we don't get access to the Business Dashboard stuff on the agent portal I understand that the IT contract only allows HMRC 2 website upgrades a year so I think we have to wait for the new man to get this sorted (in a couple of years) when the contracts change.

All massively unsatisfactory but I suspect we will just have to cope!

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............and this is the  lamentable organisation that Osborne wishes to empower to plunder the bank accounts of taxpayers direct................

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Complete Chaos in the PAYE Department

...I reckon.  Probably understaffed - but clearly have little idea what's going on.

Make a complaint using the correct procedure - I did and it was dealt with swiftly and to both my and my client's satisfaction (and they reimbursed my client for my fees for time spent).  I think the complaints dept. must be well staffed.



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Access online as your client - that helps a bit

That seems to be the only way to view the dashboard (although I understand it will be made available to us in the future).

In our case we can see our own dashboard and it is wrong! Not that this helps because DMB won't listen and PAYE won't reply to our letters. We can see HMRC reallocating payments in our account, but some don't even seem to be ours.

It is clear that if HMRC is given the power access taxpayer's bank accounts that this should not be available to DMB without the permission of a tribunal but only after it has heard evidence from taxpayer and agent and the differences between HMRC's records and the taxpayers are fully reconciled. 




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I think we all feel sorry for HMRC and recognise the fact that they are seriously undermanned.

HOWEVER - would it not be in their interests to help us help them. That is all we seek is a bit of cooperation instead of obstacles and increasingly vitriolic letters spewing out from Longbenton. 

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When I worked for HMRC DMB some 5 years ago, the office was going through severe cutbacks on staffing to the point where there were not enough to handle the workload.  Management decided to prioritise worklists and go for the higher money to swell the pot, thus leaving the small amounts uncollected.  I am still in touch with ex-colleagues who say it has gotten worse in the office, and i'm not surprised.

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PAYE issues some might relate to

The last three repayments I have tried to investigate for clients involved obtaining the client logon details for HMRC which provides more information than agents are able to see only to find the information for those years (not necessarily the same tax years) were mysteriously marked 'not available'.  I don't see why you have to explain an overpayment anyway but to deny you access to the PAYE records to help explain it and then not give you a list of PAYE payments for that year if you request it is a curious way of 'working together'.  

In respect of my company's affairs we received a letter threatening enforcement action for a PAYE debt for about £3,000 for unpaid PAYE for 2011/2012 but only the month before we were told a refund of PAYE is due for £3,000 for 2012/2013.  This is the latest in a saga that has been going on for over twelve months.  


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Specific instruction from above

We got onto a disgruntled HMRC employee who confirmed it was policy and instruction from above to block repayments and refuse to mention an overpayment appearing on screen unless specifically asked about it by the caller.

They could be looking at a screen showing £10,000 overpaid for 2012/13, and be talking to someone incredibly upset asking how they can possibly owe £10,000 for 2013/14. They are under instruction not to say a thing.

In my opinion, this is dishonest and possibly even fraudulent. What else can it be if you are improperly causing a taxpayer to overpay tax by neglecting to mention facts on which they are entitled to rely. If I did it with a client, I'd be struck off.

The P35 overpayment saga will hopefully disappear with RTI, but I'm still waiting on a handful from 2013/14 where HMRC actually changed the p35 figures off their own back, to remove an overpayment. They didn't tell us or the client. That again, is in my opinion, fraud as the overpayment "disappeared" and unjustly enriched them. They claimed it was temporary. We spotted it in November last year so how is that temporary? If we hadn't have spotted it, it would never have appeared again.

Finally, I've got a client where HMRC misprocessed a 64-8 and removed us as agents incorrectly. Having done so, they refused to process a repayment instruction on a return specified as going to our client account for a fee offset. Instead, they rang the client, arranged to pay it to him and he's now done a runner abroad.

For six months they denied a 64-8 was ever processed, didn't exist and said the client called them. When it went to the Ombudsmen, they miraculously found the 64-8 and admitted it was wrongly processed, removing us as an agent, leading directly to our loss. But as the client said "pay me", hey that's fine, not our fault gov. Here's £50 so shut up.


Regrettably, the fact of the matter and what no one seems to want to say is that in my opinion, we are dealing with a dishonest and uncooperative organisation, bent on nothing more than filling a tax gap, through fair means or foul.

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Single Payment Account
I fail to understand why we must pay VAT, CT, PAYE payments to different accounts. It all goes to the same place. Why do we not have a single payment account where money is deposited and the relevant taxes charged against. Then putting the wrong reference makes no difference.

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Worryng trends, indeed ...


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What's the problem?

All you need to do is ask your client to let you have access to their Government Gateway.  Your client can give you access either by them giving you their user name and password or by appointing you as an approved user.

All the information you are asking for is there instantly on-screen,You will have access to each of the services they are registered for. If they are not yet registered then this is a fairly painless process. If they are not computer users then perhaps you could obtain their authority to register on their behalf?

You will then be able to see all the information you need regarding VAT and PAYE amounts due, interest and other charges and amounts paid and the way that the payments have been allocated.

I know that HMRC are intending for this to be made available to Agents but they have run into issues around data protection. As a result HMRC will not make the Agent access global as it is for SA but by in truth it does not take very much time or effort to get a client's user name and password from them


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In an ideal world!

martin.curtis wrote:

All you need to do is ask your client to let you have access to their Government Gateway.  Your client can give you access either by them giving you their user name and password or by appointing you as an approved user.


With respect, it isn't that easy for many clients. I wish it was but we have over 300 ltd companies and 200 tax/trader clients. They vary from those who reply, and those who don't. It is too simplistic to say "just get their login details".

It also doesn't solve the issue of HMRC hanging on to people's money does it? Nor the deliberate attempts to conceal overpayments on screen. This needs to be sorted and logging in as a client may solve the problem of allocations, but it doesn't fix the question of trust.

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HMRC comment

As you can see from the above additional comment I've added into the article, the Revenue has responded to AccountingWEB's request for information on this: 


HMRC has replied to AccountingWEB with their official response to the situation: 

A spokesperson said:

"Routine provision of PAYE payment schedules stopped several years ago, bringing PAYE into line with other taxes, because it was not sustainable to continue due to an increasing number of requests.

"This change in approach was introduced in April 2011 and announced through Employer Bulletin Issue 38 (page 21) and subsequently incorporated into our guidance (DMBM520287), which can be accessed on the HMRC website at which is available to customers at DMBM520287, which can be accessed at: debt and return pursuit: PAYE: payment schedule requests: background." 

Guidance provided by HMRC included: 

Customers are required to maintain their own records from which relevant information can be extractedAdditionally, the Business Tax Dashboard was introduced for the use of customers and presented another means for them to find what payments had been received and how these were allocatedUsing these two sources resolves the majority of issues, but where exceptionally this doesn’t and a customer needs help with locating a limited number of payments, then the Revenue will provide assistance.

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just the awkward squad in action

I quote (NON PAYE but demonstrates standard attitude, knowledge and procedure)

HMRC "Please can you advise why my calculations are different to yours"

"No I don't have access to HMRC software to what you have done wrong"

HMRC "shall I use my calculations"

"No they are wrong"

HMRC "why is that?"

"I don't know we pay quite a lot for our software and I have done the calculations manually to confirm"



You can never win an argument Unless you find someone who can actually grasp the point.



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I've heard the equivalent organisations in Lebanon and Iraq are better and more efficient.

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got it well sussed.

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Could someone go back to these people and explain that we are not customers - we are taxpayers. 

Customers are the recipients of goods, services, products or ideas obtained from a seller, vendor or supplier for a monetary or other valuable consideration.

HMRC are merely agents of the government and, therefore, of the taxpayer. 

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Totally agree with the comments here.

Over-payments are impossible to get back and this causes a bad impression with clients who then think its us who are unable to get the money back from HMRC!  

Its near impossible to get the money back.  I think that a class action law suit should be taken.

Furthermore I think that there should be more help coming from our respective institutes in this respect.  That is the best body to make a collective protest.


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2 out of 10

In the recent agent survey I scored HMRC 2 out of 10, not that anyone will pay any attention.  When the lady on the phone queried this low score, I gave her a few examples including the client I lost over failing to resolve a "simple PAYE matter".  From the client's point of view, having overpaid PAYE using an incorrect reference, it was simple but this thread makes clear just how useless HMRC are - in my view it is conspiracy not mere incompetence - in these situations.

After 2 minutes of this stuff, the survey lady agreed my mark was fair and reasonable.  Possibly if I'd had another 2 minutes I could have made a strong case for 1 or less out of 10!

It's the worst part of the job.  HMRC are miles, miles, miles worse than dealing with Inland Revenue or Customs & Excise used to be.


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I got so frustrated that I write to  George Osbourne every time the stupidity gets too much to bear.

I get replies from the HMRC ministerial unit making platitudinous comments which do not admit that there is a problem so perhaps I am a lone voice.

Perhaps if everyone with such problems with a dysfunctional system were to write to Gearge Osbourne he might have to climb out of the mountain of paper under which he would be submerged and actually do something about it.

How about a National HMRC Complaints Day. I'm quite sure we could all find a few inadequecies and shortcomings to write about. As the instructions to collect the tax come from George he's obviously the man to write to.





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tedbuck wrote:

I got so frustrated that I write to  George Osbourne every time the stupidity gets too much to bear.

I get replies from the HMRC ministerial unit making platitudinous comments which do not admit that there is a problem so perhaps I am a lone voice.

Perhaps if everyone with such problems with a dysfunctional system were to write to Gearge Osbourne he might have to climb out of the mountain of paper under which he would be submerged and actually do something about it.

How about a National HMRC Complaints Day. I'm quite sure we could all find a few inadequecies and shortcomings to write about. As the instructions to collect the tax come from George he's obviously the man to write to.

Do you think the letters get to George or if he even cares? He doesn't look or come across to me as being very bright either.

My guess is the people who create these problems need to cover their tracks by making sure these matters never come to light or are suitably discredited. As it is in their own best interests. Public servants? A law unto themselves.

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Rogue Traders

On one occasion, a client was doorstepped by a HMRC debt collector over an alleged overdue PAYE payment.

The payment which was made on time had been allocated to the previous tax year and when I questioned whether a simple of review of the clients account would have revealed an overpayment equal to the claimed outstanding liability HMRC's response was "we assume that the overpayment related to an under declaration of tax in respect of the earlier year and would not be taken into account when looking at current debts".

It is a measure of declining moral standards and suspect accounting procedures  from an organisation that, if it operated in the private sector, would feature regularly on BBC's Rogue Traders programme.

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Payments misallocated

It is difficult to reconcile HMRC's demands when they have misallocated payments made - how are we to work out what they have done when we do not have access to their version of the record?

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Re: Crooks, Gangsters & Thieves?

We recently had a client who had overpaid PAYE in error and received a notice from HMRC advising of the overpayment. All other years fully reconciled.

We wrote to HMRC requesting that they repay the overpayment directly to our client and received a letter in reply and I quote verbatim:


Please complete the enclosed P35D giving a full explanation as to how the overpayment occurred.

Below are some examples of reasons I cannot accept to justify an overpayment:

• Duplicate payment with no evidence to explain why.

•Statements such as 'Payment made in error without further explanation.

• The overpayment is due to a monthly payment which do not match our records.

• Any other explanation without evidence to support it.

Providing your reply gives a full explanation as to how the overpayment arose, I will arrange for the overpayment to be… repaid by cheque.


I called HMRC (after many unsuccessful attempts) and having been kept waiting for some hours and was told that unless a satisfactory answer could be provided the repayment would not be forthcoming… ever!

I reminded HMRC that these funds belonged to our client and the overpayment had been made as a genuine mistake and was told again that the funds would be withheld indefinitely until a satisfactory answer was provided.

I then asked on what statutory authority this refusal to return our client’s funds was being made and was provided with Sch. 36 S.1 FA 2008. With some astonishment I asked the officer concerned to check as that legislation does not provide the necessary authority and later received a letter quoting directly.

Power to obtain information and documents from taxpayer

1(1)An officer of Revenue and Customs may by notice in writing require a person (“the taxpayer”)

a)to provide information, or

(b)to produce a document, if the information or document is reasonably required by the officer for the purpose of checking the taxpayer's tax position.

(2)means a notice under this paragraph.

I made an immediate formal complaint against HMRC for the mistreatment of our client and also against the officers concerned for exceeding their statutory powers advising that the complaint would be passed on immediately my client’s MP Paul Coggins who responded excellently.

Within a few days I had a letter from Lin Homer to Mr Coggins apologising profusely and filled with half truths, untruths and outright lies in a an attempt to deflect blame away from HMRC whilst ignoring the salient points particularly dishonesty, exceeding statutory powers, theft etc.

HMRC then offered an immediate repayment if my client was prepared to tell a white lie about the reason for the overpayment something itself quite shocking. I advised against but my client needed the funds in the real world… I personally would have roasted them.

To cut a long story short HMRC then went ahead and repaid my client directly into the client account of a firm who had not acted for them for over 10 years… but that’s another story.

Crooks and gangsters? HMRC?

I’ll leave that for you to decide but in the mean time Nichola Ross Martin should know that those of us at the sharp of HMRC bully boy tactics have been dealing with this sort of stuff for years. It’s condescending and some what irritating of Accountancy Web to suggest that in some way it’s taken the efforts Ms Martin to bring this to light.

It hasn’t….


Thanks (4)

The law

Red1960 wrote:

Please complete the enclosed P35D giving a full explanation as to how the overpayment occurred.

Below are some examples of reasons I cannot accept to justify an overpayment:

• Duplicate payment with no evidence to explain why.

• Statements such as 'Payment made in error without further explanation.

• The overpayment is due to a monthly payment which do not match our records.

• Any other explanation without evidence to support it.

Providing your reply gives a full explanation as to how the overpayment arose, I will arrange for the overpayment to be… repaid by cheque.

A PAYE payment made in error is just a mistake.  End of.  It would be interesting to know which part of the various Taxes Acts legally allow HMRC to deprive a taxpayer of their own money, when it can be demonstrated that there is not a tax liability.

I do hope there is a test case in the Courts shortly.  Everyone knows this is outrageous behaviour from a public body that is there to serve us.

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Im not saying its right....

I believe the reason they now require explanation for the over payment was that a while back some forward thinking criminal types decided to use HMRC (may have been IR) for a bit of money laundering. Set up a ltd company, make massive over payments of things like PAYE/CT etc and then get the over payment (plus interest in the CT example) repaid electronically from HMRC. i.e. dirty money in, government clean money out.


Clearly though, the concept of common sense is once more the rarest of commodities at HMRC.

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