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Email from HMRC Operational Excellence

Received an interesting (sarcasm) email from HMRC

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Had an email from HMRC Operational Excellence Business Delivery Cross Cutting Team (the name might sound bogus, but they are legit and email is definitely from HMRC Agent Compliance Team in Croydon) with the below letter attached.

Did anyone else received the same?

What are your opinion on the content and how it was written? 

 

Date Thursday 9 June 2022

Dear *******

Repayment claims suspension warning.

HMRC is currently clearing high numbers of employment related expenses and marriage allowance claims and have identified high numbers of ineligible claims.

This letter is to warn you that we are looking at levels of ineligible claims submitted by agents and the subsequent progress chasing calls to the Agent Dedicated Line.

As a publicly funded organisation HMRC cannot justify using significant resource to process ineligible claims. Basic checks would quickly identify claims having no merit and reduce customer disappointment when refund expectations are not met.
It is open to HMRC to suspend the processing of claims submitted by an agent where we consider any level of ineligible claims.

Please ensure that any claims you submit to HMRC are not sent in without the required checks. To support you in this process we have identified below the pre-submission checks HMRC expects agents to carry out. These checks reflect the updated HMRC agent standards on professional competence and due care. In particular Section 2.2 of the standards which states

2.2 Professional competence and due care
We expect agents to:

  • work to prevent errors in their clients’ tax calculations or claims, taking particular care not to include figures in returns or claims which are not sustainable

An example of a breach of this standard is where an agent submits a claim without performing adequate checks.
We will contact you if claims submitted by you do not satisfy the agent standards and there is evidence of any level of ineligible claims. We will expect you to be able to demonstrate the action you have taken to reduce ineligible claims and in response to this letter. Failure to do so could result in you being suspended from sending claims in until the required standard is met.

Marriage Allowance Pre-submission Checks
If your claim is in relation to MA please ensure it meets the following conditions:
1. All claims submitted to HMRC for Marriage Allowance have been verified with your clients in terms of their eligibility to claim.
2. Any claims forms must include both the date of their marriage or civil partnership and each person’s income for all years of the claim.3
3. All submitted claims forms have been checked and you are confident that the applicants are: married or in a civil partnership; neither person earns enough to pay higher rate tax, and the lower earner has not earned more than the tax-free personal allowance for each of the years they are claiming for.

Employer Related Expenses – Pre-submission Checks
If your claim is in relation to employer related expenses, please ensure it meets the follow conditions:

1. All P87 claims submitted to HMRC have been verified with your clients in terms of their eligibility to claim and they do not have a live SA record for the year of the claim.
2. Complete every box that is appropriate to the claim on form P87 and include all expenses for the tax year you want to claim for.
3. All submitted claim forms have been checked and you are confident you are not submitting claims for years that have already been repaid, where no tax has been paid or already included in the code.
4. If the claim is in respect of mileage, please ensure the customer has kept a log of their business and private mileage.
5. Provide mileage logs if claiming mileage expenses for using your own vehicle for business journeys and the employer has not reimbursed any of the cost.
6. If the expense isn’t standard-rate or mileage, please provide receipts to confirm the amount claimed.

 

Further Information
We are happy to offer support to improve your claim forms and application processes to achieve compliance with the conditions set out by HMRC. Please contact ******** (Agent Relationship Manager) *******@hmrc.gov.uk if you require our assistance.

Replies (12)

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By free-rider
10th Jun 2022 11:09

As a practice we file 1-2 MA/Employment expenses claims per year so less than a 1/4% of the total SATR filings so I found the letter odd. We do however file c. 100-150 CIS subbie returns which are usually refunds.

I have emailed the person back straight away asking for clarification if the Repayment claims suspension warning letter was addressed specifically to our practice based on our work/risk or if it was just a general letter sent to all agents.

Their reply was:

Good evening,

I can confirm that this was a standard letter issued to all agents and not specific to *******.

Thanks (0)
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By Leywood
10th Jun 2022 11:24

I cannot see the email, but my inbox is a car crash after having a few days off.

I laughed out loud (sarcastic laugh) at the:-
''2.2 Professional competence and due care
We expect agents to:
work to prevent errors in their clients’ tax calculations or claims, taking particular care not to include figures in returns or claims which are not sustainable''

Can we draft a letter back saying what we expect of HMRC, the list would be a longer one, but could start with them applying some, in fact any kind of competence. What a farce.

Thanks (3)
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By Hugo Fair
10th Jun 2022 11:28

It's a classic 'nudge' letter (untargeted but hoping to prod a few people who it would have targeted if it knew how to achieve that)!

Having said which, by HMRC standards it's not that unreasonable - and even gives the recipient the heads-up as to areas on which they'll be focussing their attention.

Of course the more cynical may point out that it also gives HMRC a greater likelihood of successfully applying penalties (if the 'error' was a type of which the submitter had been pre-warned)!

Thanks (3)
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By bernard michael
10th Jun 2022 11:42

This is not aimed @ you but the bucket shops offering tax refunds for uniforms & marriage allowance on a no win no fee basis

Thanks (4)
Replying to bernard michael:
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By free-rider
10th Jun 2022 12:27

bernard michael wrote:

This is not aimed @ you but the bucket shops offering tax refunds for uniforms & marriage allowance on a no win no fee basis

It`s just the way how the letter is written and the heading "Repayment claims suspension warning" which frustrates me.

My SA and CT agent codes have previously been suspended twice within the last 5 years because of HMRCs inability to check their own system for my AML Supervision credentials and both times they blamed it on us not replying to AML105 form which was never received by us on both occasions. I am therefore quite cautious of any mention of suspending the Agent access.

Thanks (0)
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By bernard michael
10th Jun 2022 11:42

This is not aimed @ you but the bucket shops offering tax refunds for uniforms & marriage allowance on a no win no fee basis

Thanks (2)
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
10th Jun 2022 13:07

Sounds like a pre-emptive letter to give them carte blanche to delay repayments generally.

"We would pay legitimate claims out more quickly, but we just don't have the resources with all the fake claims we are having to deal with."

Thanks (1)
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By Rgab1947
10th Jun 2022 14:07

My first reaction reading the letter was "F*** off. Do your job and don't expect us to do yours"

But maybe I am testy with their incompetence. And it's Friday.

2nd reaction was "must be a scam letter'

Thanks (1)
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By Paul Crowley
10th Jun 2022 14:47

Outrageous BS from HMRC that is becoming so common
No not had one
But whover wrote it does not have knowlwdge of tax law
There is no law restricting transfer other than not higher rate for both parties
Tax effect is zero

HMRC just do not act within the law
Receipts and a mileage log of private miles for an employee?
total cobblers
Agents job to audit all claims
You are having a laugh HMRC

Thanks (1)
Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Not Anonymous
12th Jun 2022 20:29

Paul Crowley wrote:

Outrageous BS from HMRC that is becoming so common
No not had one
But whover wrote it does not have knowlwdge of tax law
There is no law restricting transfer other than not higher rate for both parties
Tax effect is zero

HMRC just do not act within the law
Receipts and a mileage log of private miles for an employee?
total cobblers
Agents job to audit all claims
You are having a laugh HMRC

With Marriage Allowance it's a nil tax effect overall but when the adviser concerned is, conservatively, taking say 25% of the refund the couple are actually worse off overall.

The applicant might owe HMRC £1,000. The adviser won't have agreed to pay any of that.

The recipient might be owed a £1,000 refund and the adviser takes their share of the refund leaving the recipient with say £750.

Even if the individuals concerned then cancelled the application they are still £250 worse off.

And they will no doubt be taking up HMRC's time asking questions about how this has happened.

Other than the adviser who is banking the refund cheque it's a waste of everyone's time and money and certainly won't be helping HMRC get service back to a decent level.

Yes you could argue the couple shouldn't have signed up in the first place but these companies are clearly good at attracting those who are less financially savvy.

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By flightdeck
10th Jun 2022 15:44

It's fine. It's not personal. It's aimed at the chancers. Maybe there are a lot of them?

Thanks (1)
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By Wisey
13th Jun 2022 11:35

No, but I did submit an unsolicited return with a legitimate claim for pension HR relief. It was then included in client's PAYE code so I called to have it removed because it was a one-off. Noticed the refund £2k was sitting there so asked for it to be released only to be told as it was an unsolicited return they have to check it - how without asking for a receipt which surely opens an enquiry?
This process expected to last 10 weeks.

Thanks (1)
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