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Wrongly blocked from filing SA/CT/PAYE returns

I reported a fraud on one of my clients, so HMRC blocked me for all clients. 6 months later, no news

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Has anyone else had this nightmare? I reported a client having fraud committed against him on 30th April 2021 and was advised that as standard procedure the fraud department would block my agency from submissions temporarily whilst they investigate. They still haven't even contacted the client about this. Meanwhile company clients are accruing penalties, don't even want to think about SA in January.

I have raised an official complaint and they are hitting a brick wall as well. It seems no-one can help me. You can't contact the fraud department as they don't take calls. Losing clients and many nights sleep.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Replies (23)

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By sarahg
22nd Oct 2021 16:19

Who have you contacted other than HMRC?

Have you taken advice from your insurance company, Institute, spoken to local MP?

Have you teamed up with another firm to assist with your clients to avoid penalties, etc?

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By Leywood
22nd Oct 2021 16:54

Hi
Try these:-

[email protected],
[email protected],
[email protected]

One doesnt work now, cannot recall which one, think it might be the last one. (Top one is Fraud unit).

Mark as extremely urgent in your email title, state a reference and briefly why, then give them all guns in the body of your email.

Copy your MP in and ask for it to be sent to the minister in charge.

I received a response in less than 24 hours from HMRC.

Good luck.

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By memyself-eye
22nd Oct 2021 17:12

So the client was innocent of any wrongdoing?
and you reported what, exactly?...and to whom?

WHY?

Thanks (1)
Replying to memyself-eye:
RLI
By lionofludesch
22nd Oct 2021 17:46

memyself-eye wrote:

So the client was innocent of any wrongdoing?
and you reported what, exactly?...and to whom?

WHY?

Somebody pinched the client's tax rebate and he'd like it back ?

Just one possible scenario .....

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By Paul Crowley
22nd Oct 2021 17:56

We currently assume that the fraud was tax, and that someone did something electronic.
Not heard of this sort of thing before, but if it was NOT one of your employees then the HMRC response appears totally outrageous.

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
Morph
By kevinringer
02nd Nov 2021 13:17

There's been a lot of SEISS fraud: claimants attempted to submit a claim only to discover someone else had beaten them to it.

EDIT: Just read further down the page and can see it is a SEISS fraud. I should have read to the bottom before replying, but at my age, if I had read to the bottom I would have forgotten what the top said.

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By DAr4V
22nd Oct 2021 18:46

I'll provide more info.
The client was relatively new, I checked him out and he was a friend of a few other clients. I prepared his 2020 return with a cessation during the year. I then get a phone call from SEISS claims advising me that he had claimed the first three grants. I was completely confused by this as he wasn't eligible as he had ceased the previous year. A phone call to the client revealed that a year or so before I took over, a "bloke down the pub" had said he would do his tax or him and he had given him his User ID and password. It then transpired that this individual had logged into HMRC, changed the 2020 return to remove cessation, changed address etc etc etc and pocketed 3 grants. I advised the SEISS unit immediately and they said that they would have to pass it onto the fraud team and apologised in advance that I would be temporarily blocked from HMRC for all clients while they investigate. I advised them that the client was 99% sure who had did it and would happy to give them as much information as he could. The only reason I knew I had been blocked was after the weekend I tried to send in an RTI submission and it was refused. No-one from HMRC has communicated with me at all until I made a formal complaint. The complaints department for the first two months just advised me they were too busy and then eventually I received a phone call from complaints. She sympathised but I got the impression that the fraud department was as uncommunicative with her. I imagine the case is in a very big pile in a bottomless inbox somewhere as the client hasn't been contacted yet. Complaints department have today managed to allow me to submit SA returns on the HMRC website but not through the gateway which is a step in the right direction. CT penalties are accruing though I would assume appeals will be allowed in the end. I've got CT clients who have paid the tax and then been repaid it when liability has been forthcoming.

If I could early retire I would. Goodness knows the state HMRC have got themselves into if this case is an accurate reflection.

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Replying to DAr4V:
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By Paul Crowley
22nd Oct 2021 22:11

Much appreciated
One of my subcontractor clients had a fraudulent tax claim, so we think.
HMRC would not tell him anything, just gave him a new UTR, but my guess was as someone submitted a return and claimed the refund and also changed the agent.

Agree Leywood This needs to go to MP ASAP and eventually to ombudsman
You have been shut down
HMRC incompetence

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Replying to DAr4V:
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By Southwestbeancounter
27th Oct 2021 14:13

Just to clarify - when you said the man down the pub 'changed' the guy's 2020 SATR do you mean he sent in an amended return?

Did you use your agents credentials to submit the original 2020 return or log in using the client's Govt Gateway credentials?

If you used your own agent log in then this is a disgrace!

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Replying to DAr4V:
Morph
By kevinringer
02nd Nov 2021 13:22

The media reported loads of SEISS fraud has occurred (if HMRC know it is fraud, why don't they act? they've got the recipients bank details) and we might be unaware it has happened to one of our clients until we see the SEISS figure downloaded through the SA API. If fraud has occurred, we have to report it and we don't want to find ourselves in the position of OP. I reckon the OP needs to get his professional body involved so this problem can be fixed before loads of agents find themselves in the same boat.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
22nd Oct 2021 22:58

Truly awful.

And in a perfect world we'd each of us insure against any such assault by setting up secondary filing channels via clients' logins.

Just suppose OP you were to offer £x amount per filing to other practitioners here. Anyone care to put forward any legal constraints?

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Paul Crowley
23rd Oct 2021 15:27

Intereesting idea
I have no such back up plan
My first thought is AML could be as issue

Priority would be PAYE and VAT
PAYE could be done by using HMRC basic tools, but OP would still need to put the wages through his system as well
VAT would be faily simple just using bridging software with the return figures only
SA TR clients gateway, as anyone claiming SEISS would have one by now would be copeable
Corp tax would need the helper to get up a new client on their software but would only need a TB and tax computation.
Fee notes for the above to OP would give a valid compensation claim and could keep his clients on board
Similarly self employed or rent accounts on self assessment
But requests for lenders and landlords SA302 and tax year overview would still be impossible unless helper became the agent that would need cooperation and knowledge of the client
The big issue here is that clients confidence will evaporate, no smoke without fire, and HMRC will NEVER provide anything to exonerate OP

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By Calculatorboy
23rd Oct 2021 10:14

Sounds horrendous..

If you use taxcalc and moneysoft payroll manager you can input client user credentials..maybe that's a work around for other clients

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By memyself-eye
23rd Oct 2021 16:54

Ahh...
A bloke down the pub said...

says it all

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Replying to memyself-eye:
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By Hugo Fair
23rd Oct 2021 17:22

Whilst the treatment of OP (and lack of any evidence of investigation) are truly horrendous ... why oh why is a taxpayer prepared to entrust "his User ID and password" to a "bloke down the pub"?
And the answer is because HMRC are seen as the people who chase you for tax, not as part of the gateway to many services (including provision of grants/rebates).
The same taxpayer presumably wouldn't hand over equivalent details to his bank account, but isn't educated to realise that there's no practical difference.

BTW, when OP goes on to say "It then transpired that this individual had logged into HMRC, changed the 2020 return to remove cessation, changed address etc etc etc and pocketed 3 grants" ... I presume that this is at best hearsay and possibly mere supposition - for instance he may have 'merely' given the account details to a third party.
If there is hard evidence of the criminal activities listed then I'd have thought a direct report to the Police would be in order - even though it doesn't help OP.

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By Tom Cross
25th Oct 2021 15:50

I know, this is a completely ridiculous thought. However, are you a member of of a professional body or, possibly, Federation of Small Businesses?

I appreciate I may be a tad naive, and somewhat late to the party but, I'd always thought that membership of such organisations, brought with it; certain benefits and protections?

Just a wild stab in the dark.

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By DAr4V
25th Oct 2021 16:21

Thanks for all your replies.

I'll let you know how I get on.

I run Iris Keytime and CT and SA returns can't be filed using Company own or individual user ID's as the software is cleared for agents only. Other software may be different?
Regarding the filing of CT returns, can they be filed by an agent when they are not your client?
Thanks again

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Replying to DAr4V:
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By Leywood
25th Oct 2021 16:32

Did you try the fraud dept email I gave you? As I said, I had a response within 24 hours and they sorted my issue!!!

If you havent, was I wasting my time?

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By DAr4V
25th Oct 2021 16:42

I've got complaints and Digital Services looking into things at the moment so I'll give them a few days first.

Then I'll try that, thank you

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Replying to DAr4V:
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By Paul Crowley
25th Oct 2021 17:39

I would point the shotgun in all directions
Do the Leywood thing

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By DTB76
02nd Nov 2021 10:44

I worked at a firm where our agent log in for SA (personal only) was "hacked" (by a disgruntled ex-employee) and several false tax returns were filed creating tens of thousands of pounds of refunds all paid to the "agent" bank account.

As soon as we found the first case we reported the hack to HMRC and our log ins were terminated. We had to wait for them to issue new log in credentials, after investigating to ensure it wasn't anything to do with the firm and that the clients weren't involved, and HMRC to transfer all the clients to the new "account". It took months, but fortunately it was very early in the TR season.

The only saving grace was that the firm had the sense to have different credentials for CT, PAYE and VAT so these were all unaffected.

I have to say though, in this case HMRC were reasonably helpful and acted as quickly as they could.

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By DAr4V
08th Nov 2021 10:16

Thanks for all your help, all resolved now by the complaints department.

The fraud department still haven't contacted the client, it's been over 6 months now.

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Replying to DAr4V:
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By Hugo Fair
08th Nov 2021 14:07

Glad to hear it's now been 'resolved' (for you if not your client).

Presumably that doesn't include any compensation (or even explanation)?

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