Help needed to quantify this problem and make office moves smoother...live complaint with Info Commissioner Office.
25 years in practice, moved office 3 years ago. Told HMRC.
SA clients - changed seamlessly
CT clients - same
Employee (non-SA clients) - PROBLEM
HMRC says for non-SA individuals I must supply a list of names and NINOs. Some of these people I acted for years ago and they asked we remain on record in case another tax code etc query arose. Impractical to locate every one.
Now for some, the papers are shredded under Data Protection.
When HMRC issues a P800 or enquiry letter to us for such a client (to wrong address) it does not show the full NINO so we cannot ask to update our address or remove us from the record.
I have sent back the P800 inviting HMRC to use the barcode and remove us - HMRC just says cannot trace without NINO! Doh!
Finally complained with examples to Information Commissioner's Office. It is an offence to keep old data on systems and not have robust structures to update things like (agent) addresses. (Principles 4 and 7 of DPA)
They have never heard of this and believe I am exaggerating when I say thousands of taxpayers could have correspondence sent to old agent addresses.
To quote the ICO specialist on HMRC cases in his initial response to our formal complaint:
"In response to your comment that there could be other agents impacted by this issue meaning there could well be tens of thousands of taxpayers where HMRC uses an out of date agent address I can only say this: I have been dealing with nearly all HMRC data protection concerns reported to the ICO for at least the last 3 years and yours is the first such complaint I have seen. This would not tend to suggest we have evidence of it being a widespread problem."
Have any other members had this problem? I would like to tell the ICO of other firms. Otherwise they will think this is small beer. (Of course you could lodge your own complaint too!)
HMRC is famed for its bad tech, but if we work together this is a piece of law we can use to make something get better.