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I know we have been here before, but honestly!

I know we have been here before, but honestly!

1.  Received a request in the post for a loan application this week.  No name on the form, just a reference number for them.  I rang the Building Society and they could not tell me who it was for and "couldn't really discuss it at all" as it would breach security.  I suggested that if they wanted an answer they needed to do something!

2.  Received call from HMRC - "please can we speak to someone about Mrs X" - yes, fine - "before we speak, we need you to clear security" - yes duh, but YOU rang ME - "well, we can give you a number you can ring us back on" - and how exactly does that prove anything?

I know this has been covered before, but surely if HMRC ring the phone number that they have for the agent then that is enough security, in the same way that when we ring them, we don't epect them to jump through hoops.


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10th Nov 2011 19:24

Mortage lenders and HMRC

Some of these mortgage lenders need to get a grip, they are wasting more and more time with ridiculous demands, time that clients do not want to pay for as they do not appreciate how much time it can take.

One lender this week made our client change law firms as it was their policy that the conveyancing could only be done by firms with over five partners.  They also made ridiculous demands of us and were aggressive when I pointed it out.

As for HMRC asking for verification when they ring, you couldn't make it up, turn the tables next time and pose them a few questions to see if they are who they say they are!


Seahorse (UK) Ltd - For Accountants and Bookkeepers

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11th Nov 2011 09:30


References..........dont get me started!

I had a letting reference agency turn down a client last week too - he makes £200k+ PA and is renting a very small london flat for when he is in the city and was turned down as I didn't use the form (which was for an employee) despite writing a detailed reference essentially explaining he could afford the annual rent from lose change.

And then.........they told my client that the reason they have been rejected was that I was in essence incompetent and hadn't responded properly, despite doing so within a couple of hours. Fortunately long standing clients didn't believe a word of it, and we cut them out and went direct to the lettings agent.



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11th Nov 2011 17:40


I'd certainly love the profession to take a stand on this where HMRC are concerned - If they ring up and ask for information, you are well within your rights to demand a minimum level of verification before disclosing anything (in fact, the Data Protection Act demands that you do).

Them giving you a phone number to call back is no good (how do you know it's a valid number).

At a minimum, they would have to allow you to ring them back on one of the published HMRC phone numbers (so you can independently verify it), but preferably, there should be an agreed authentication process for HMRC to use when calling you.

In the absence of that - tell them to write to you.


Sauce for the Goose.....


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By ACDWebb
11th Nov 2011 17:48


to tell you your SA Agent Code.

They ought to be able to answer that without breaching DPA as it's nothing to do with the client.

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16th Nov 2011 13:28

Brave New World

I've gotten so tee-ed off with the Revenue over this whole phone issue that as soon as they ask for any information I tell them that I just cannot give information like that over the phone and I invite them to write to us instead. Oh how I long for the days of local offices when you could reach a particular individual and they could reach you. Things were done on the basis of goodwill, good relationships, mutual trust and mutual understanding. Now they don't just act like Big Brother . . . . it's more like Big Incompetent and Irrational Brother (I don't need one of those . . . . I have one in the family already!). Welcome to the Brave New World!

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By awgw1
16th Nov 2011 13:43

Many agents have HNW clients who demand that their tax affairs are only dealt with by one person, perhaps even the sole practitioner.  HMRC must therefore establish that they are talking to the corect person in that office who has authority to deal with that client.

Martyn Warren

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16th Nov 2011 14:04


We now reply that we are suspicious that someone would ring us from HMRC trying to get details from us that HMRC would know... we cannot be sure who they are and therefore we can't disclose such information in this day and age.

Child tax credits are the best I am unable to correct our position because the questions they ask I do not know the answer to e.g. questions about my wife, or questions about companies that when I give the right answer they have a different one... your guess is as good as mine...but I can never get through to tell them they are wrong.

Mortgage reference letters ...mmmm..something like this ??

a fax arrives two or three weeks after the client told you they would be writing.

They have told the client you have not replied yet.

Ten minutes later an agressive phone call is received where they are rude to your staff demanding a reply.instantly

when you reply by letter..(only a fool would use their form)

they phone and say they don't like your letter... because of the disclaimer...

Apparently the trick is to cross through form and write see letter enclosed.

In some cases we have just advised that they use a different lender !

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16th Nov 2011 14:13

Martyn . . . . with the greatest respect . . . a completed 64-8 gives the practice authorization to act (not an individual within that practice) . Furthermore, generally, the 64-8 will note the agents' phone number (so why do they need to verify anything for "security" when the taxpayer has already authorized that agent on that number for contact?). And anyway, as to them contacting the "right" person within the practice . . . even when they do they still start this security question malarky! The long and the short of it is that HMRC's procedures have rendered telephone communication between them and the agent unworkable. And remember folks . . . . it is we (and our clients) as taxpayers who are paying for this shambolic, inefficient waste of time.


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By Mildred
16th Nov 2011 14:13 to me

This is news to me. HMRC has never wasted my time when they call….(torchwood)

Received about 3 calls from them in the last few months. Just 1 or 2 security questions and we are good to go.

Is the above something new? I wonder!!


Mink finance Professionals

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16th Nov 2011 14:22

If we ring the Revenue and ask for information they refuse to give it without the rigmarole of "identification" and I quite agree with that approach, after all I could be anyone trying to obtain information about someone (and I understand Private Enquiry Agents do just such!)

So if the Revenue ring us asking information about our clients we respond in kind and state that without proper identification procedures we are not willing to breach the security of our client's details. I always add "Would you give me that information over the phone if I asked you for it?" to which the reply is always "No!"

So why do they think they are above their own standards of security and procedure?



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16th Nov 2011 14:25

HMRC's & Gov security

How do you confirm that the caller is not the owner of some missing HMRC disks or laptop or has an office near a bin used as a government ministers dead in the head letter drop...or the council tip for that matter..............HMRC's problems are often spun into an agent problem..thus diverting the real issue which is with a bit of ingenuity the fraudster can check its details obtained from HMRC etc are correct and current with the Agent and ready to use.

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16th Nov 2011 14:58


When I was with the Revenue and working a PAYE caseload I frequently got telephone calls from people claiming to be the TP/Agent/IR  asking for information they had "mislaid".  99% of the time it was  not a genuine enquiry and I quite often sent them off with a flea in their ear.  There are people out there who do this for a living and it is/was well known that if they make 6 telephone calls, because you have to give a little information to establish if it is a genuine enquiry, they can piece together the entire taxpayers personal information.  The favourite was "I am at XXX Inland Revenue office and our Taxpayer Index is down, if I give you a reference can you confirm xxxx as I have the TP at the Counter".  My cynical attitude saved many a slip up.  Giving complete misinformation put a spanner in the works, too.


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16th Nov 2011 15:18

Agent ID

We have been asking this for ages and have not had a problem.

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