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Monday, 27 October 2008
Here is an interesting story sent to me by someone about HMRC changing their address, but not being very open about their new address.
My correspondent has for many years sent his VAT return by post using an enclosed brown envelope, and recorded delivery to ensure proof of sending.
Anyhoo, this quarter HMRC changed the colour of the enclosed envelope to white and the address on the envelope.
So far so good, except for one small problem...the address, whilst it did have a post code, didn't have a town.
In theory, this should still work for recorded delivery; unfortunately there was another problem.
Can you guess what that was?
Yes, that's right, the post office did not/could not recognise the post code (BX5 5AT) on the envelope.
My hapless correspondent then called HMRC, and was given a new postcode (BD98 1YY) to use.
Fair enough, except that the post office will not accept a letter for recorded delivery without a town as well.
Cue another call to HMRC, asking for the town.
Unfortunately, HMRC (for reasons best known to the lady at the call centre) wouldn't give the name of the town (it turns out from a later enquiry that it was Bradford).
Another call, to a more helpful call centre person, confirmed that the printed envelopes had a problem with the post code but that proof of postage can be obtained via a "certificate of postage".
I understand that there has been some trouble with the VAT returns in the period July/August because of this.
I wonder just how many VAT returns have been lost or delayed this quarter because of a misprinted post code on the envelope?
Tax does have to be taxing.
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