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What the heck are "specified charges"?!!

What the heck are "specified charges"?!!

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I had a lengthy conversation with a very helpful Benton Park person today with regard to one of my Complaint Cases.  It turns out that the reason for the fictitious "underpayment" was specified charges for Months 1, 2 and 3.

This is a Lake District Hotel which in 12-13 and 13-14 only had the two directors on the payroll during months 1 to 3.  Months 4 to 6 there were 4 or 5 staff to cope with the extra business, and RTI with accurate year to date information was filed.

So the specified charges in months 1 to 3 were just made-up numbers by HMRC for a payroll which at that stage had no staff on it!

Has anyone else had this sort of thing?  It seems to me that once HMRC take it upon themselves to stuff RTI reports with made-up numbers then they themselves are responsible for contaminating the database with incorrect data.

Given that two of the drivers of RTI - so we were told - were:

1.  Getting reliable and accurate payroll data in a timely fashion.

2.  Once and for all ending the finger-pointing farces between employers and HMRC where staff had big tax bills arising from earlier years.

Then surely it should be evident to HMRC management that making up numbers is going to utterly undermine the system.  In two years time if the system spits out tax bills arising from this spurious data will we just be back to square 1 again?

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By stratty
05th Feb 2014 08:30

RTI Quirks

Did you submit an EPS for months 1-3 showing that no payments were due?

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By DMGbus
05th Feb 2014 08:49

Penalties under another name

As HMRC has said that penalties will not be issued for in-year RTI filings for 2013/14 tax year it has been deemed necessary for the spivs in charge to use a different description to extract money otherwise not due from employers.

I have seen a case where an employer who's never had any PAYE liabilities and the "Specified Charges" levied are £200 per month where an FPS has been missed.  This proves beyond doubt that "Specified Charges" really are penalties under a different name rather than (as the spivs at HMRC would say) "estimates of liabilities" for unfiled FPS reports.

In another client's case I see that the "Specified Charges" actually have some similarity to a month 1 FPS filing, so have some logic.



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By stepurhan
05th Feb 2014 09:26

Dodgy practice

Whilst there is a history of HMRC raising assessments on other taxes where returns are not filed, this does sound highly suspect. The whole point of RTI was to ensure accurate up-to-date information was recorded, so adding invented information blows the whole thing out of the water.

As DMGbus says, it is hard to see such amounts as anything but "penalties" where there should be none.

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