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Badly worded correspondence from HMRC

Badly worded correspondence from HMRC

I received, not one, but two letters from HMRC PAYE and SA at Newcastle dated 17 April 2012 worded exactly the same for the same client which included the following paragraphs:

"This means that your client no longer needs to be in self assessment and that we do not need them to fill in a tax return for the year ended 5 April 2011.  We will cancel the penalty that we charged them for not filing this tax return by the filing deadline. "

This is part of a letter taking the client out of SA for 2012, but:

a) The client's SA for 2011 was successfully submitted on 18 August 2011; and

b) No penalty has been charged.

When I contacted HMRC about this I was told to "Just ignore those words as the SA  for 2011 has gone in anyway"!

Whilst I am over the moon at receiving, not one but two letters from HMRC (saying the same thing for the same client, both signed by the same assistant officer), when I have struggled to get replies to correspondence for months on other matters, I am so fed up with the amount of time we have to waste checking things out because of the extremely badly worded standard letters being generated from H M Revenue and Customs.  If a copy of this letter goes to the client they then think that we have not done our jobs and filed the return for them. It is very hard to convince an obstinate pensioner that what the HMRC has written does not apply to them.  Surely in this day and age the HMRC can pick out paragraphs to exclude from their standard letters can't they?  Why do HMRC need to refer to 2011 at all when they are taking the client out of SA for 2012?  Don't their wordsmiths consider the impact of what they are writing?


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23rd Apr 2012 11:39

You expect HMRC staff to be trained? That costs extra Guv!!

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23rd Apr 2012 11:56

yes be fair

Yes, give them a break.  Their latest recruitment drive was a big success.  It was at London Zoo and most of the monkeys passed the selection process.

Thanks (3)
23rd Apr 2012 12:07


this is incompetence at the heart of HMRC systems   (and no doubt at the top?) at the                   


Thanks (1)
By Jimess
23rd Apr 2012 12:11

Thanks for the chuckle

Thanks for giving me a much needed chuckle. 

The London Zoo scenario is keeping me giggling :)

Thanks (0)
By Annetax
23rd Apr 2012 12:13

Tax doesn't have to be taxing but apparently you can make it so!

Quality standards are definitely plummeting.

Our payroll department recently received a K402257 code for a clients employee. Although we don't actually act directly for this employee we flagged it with him. Needless to say his own accountant hadn't been sent a copy of this new code (thanks to Revenue cutbacks).

Thankfully, it was all sorted out fairly quickly but I worry about individuals who don't have experienced advisors in the background to spot these sorts of blunders.




Thanks (2)
23rd Apr 2012 13:05


Given my slap dash language on the forum I probably ought not to say too much but I was amused by a letter from HMRC this morning littered with typos, including several variations on the client's none too complex a surname.

The second para opens "Fall all in tent", which certainly made me wince.

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27th Apr 2012 11:36

Punctuation can make quite a difference as well.

A friend sent this through on facebook so thought you may appreciate it. ;-)

"Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy - will you let me be yours?


Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?




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