How can I prove I wasn't self employed?

Hmrc randomly decoded I've been self employed for 4 years

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I received a letter from hmrc saying that I told them I began trading in October 2020(I didn't I was in hospital with covid) at the time I had no income all though now I'm on uc. They are asking about my ni contributions! 

They've even told the job centre, so I expect a complaint that I haven't told them about a change of circumstances which never occured! I dread to think what will happen if they start demanding taxes for four years! How do you prove a negative? I had 0 income from self employment because I wasn't self employed!

Replies (6)

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By K81
23rd Apr 2024 11:15

just tell them you think they have confused your records with someone else & that you have never been self-employed - infact in October 2020 you were in hospital.

Thanks (1)
By David Ex
23rd Apr 2024 11:53

Craigpi wrote:

How do you prove a negative?

You could tell them what you were doing at the relevant time.

Thanks (2)
By fawltybasil2575
23rd Apr 2024 12:21

@ craigpi (OP).

If you are comfortable with phoning HMRC, simply contact them by phone, to advise that the information in their letter is incorrect and to ask for details of the information which they believe supports that contention. If you are not comfortable with phoning them or if, after phoning them, you are dissatisfied with their response, send a letter to them on the following lines:-


Dear Sirs,

Your reference - xxxxxxxx
My National Insurance Number xx/xx/xx/xx/x

I refer to your letter dated xx/xx/xxxx.

Your letter contends that I commenced self-employment. Since such contention is incorrect, please forward to me BY RETURN, full details of the information held by you, upon which that contention is based, including copies of all documents relevant to that contention.

Yours faithfully,"

The letter stands you in good stead if you experience any further problems from any HMRC or other government departments.

If you do not receive a reply (which currently is likely in view of the unacceptable service standards within HMRC) then send a reminder.


Thanks (5)
By Capitalised
23rd Apr 2024 12:51

It's quite possible that they've made an error. You could always call them as others have said. Also, if they require evidence then presumably you have bank statements and evidence of time in hospital should they require. However it should be said that you might want to engage an accountant to assist should it come to that.

Thanks (1)
By stepurhan
23rd Apr 2024 12:51

If you want bespoke professional advice but don't want to pay for it (and yours is one of those rare questions where that is completely justified) then the Citizen's Advice Bureau often have a local accountant offering help and support as part of their services. Depends how comfortable you are on dealing with it yourself.

Thanks (6)
By Craigpi
24th Apr 2024 17:37

I can get statements of my app albeit labourisly. But I feared they could always say I had another bank account or was paid in cash and scamming the country out of tax revenue. I dint have anything from the hospital but could ask the NHS however that only covers me until Christmas time. I've gone to the cab about this and they are sending a letter to hmrc. Thanks all.

Thanks (2)