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Postal dilemma

Receipt of HMRC correspondence for non-clients

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I have been assisting a client with a CIS enquiry from HMRC. The CIS tax has been agreed and settled but there has been some additional correspondence regarding penalties, and the latest letter was received today.

With the Inspector's letter for my client there were also four other letters addressed to non-clients! This leaves me with a couple of issues that I am having difficulty dealing with.

First, what to do with the correspondence? I think that my choices are: 1) return it to HMRC; 2) send it onto the correct recipients. I am undecided which of these options is the most appropriate. Whichever of these I do, should I notify the other party/parties what has happened? Do you have any thoughts on this?

Second, I am mindful that HMRC is in breach of its own confidentiality rules (and, possibly, GDPR, although I seem to recall there is some 'get out clause' for Government Departments). Is this something that I should be reporting to somebody and, if so, to whom?

Looking forward to hearing opinions.

Replies (7)

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By Wanderer
26th Feb 2019 16:40

Just forward it on to the intended recipients.

Nothing to be gained from any other course of action and you can devote your time to doing something more useful.

Thanks (2)
By Paul D Utherone
26th Feb 2019 16:41

Had this a couple of years back where the HMRC envelope stuffer had managed to send me:
1) s9 review letter for my client
2) another for someone I didn't act for; and
3) the agent copy for 2)

As I recall I sent them back to HMRC, having seen too many "we sent a letter to the 'customer' and it didn't come back so they must have received it and ignored it" quotes from HMRC in FTT case reports accepted and the taxpayer stuffed

Thanks (3)
By JCresswellTax
26th Feb 2019 16:44

Hardly a dilemma is it? Just choose one of your options and get on with your life.

Thanks (1)
By Kaylee100
26th Feb 2019 20:53

I had this about 6 years ago. I rang the agent helpline who resent the letters I received in error (back then they could circumvent security given the issue, not sure if its so easy now). I was asked to shred or return the two incorrect letters (cant remember which) .

Thanks (1)
By Cloudcounter
26th Feb 2019 21:00

I'd send them back to HMRC. I certainly wouldn't do their work for them by sending on to the other taxpayers.

I'd also report them to the Information Commissioner.

Thanks (1)
By ken.voller
27th Feb 2019 08:33

Thanks to everybody who responded. I've decided to send the correspondence back to HMRC and get on with my life!

Thanks (0)
By Duggimon
27th Feb 2019 10:51

I'd report it to ICO personally. And also send it on, then forget about it.

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