HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Catch 22 - Trying To Contact HMRC II

Catch 22It seems that my recent article about the problems a mother and her son were having trying to extract a tax overpayment from HMRC has struck a chord.

Here is a similar tale, sent to me by another loyal reader, edited to avoid identification:

"I have just read your 'Catch 22' item.

We have suffered a virtually identical scenario.

My son worked during the Summer holidays in the last tax year. However, he was not given the option by the employer to complete a form that would have meant he wouldn't have paid tax at all and, despite him providing P45 information from a previous part time casual employer from the previous tax year, he ended up on an emergency tax code and paid the full whack.

Due to the pressure of his studies when he returned to university in September he has not had any employment since.

After his January exams he started the process of trying to get the much needed money refunded.

After many attempts by him and by me to download the appropriate form unsuccessfully, we called HMRC (early March) to ask for a form to be sent.

They said that the turnaround for this route was at least 12 weeks to process and advised my son to wait until after the end of the tax year, and telephone instead as the refund could then be dealt with over the telephone.

My son duly phoned on April 7th only to be told it couldn't be done over the phone, and that he should send his P45 from the Summer Placement work with a covering letter stating he hadn't worked before or after.

We did this and paid £5 to have signed for delivery, so that we could track the letter.

Despite this, and numerous phone calls later, the first response we had was over 3 months later - and asking for information that we believe HMRC already had.

Part 1A of the P45 from the Summer Placement was returned last week, with a letter saying that the calculation has been done and is being sent under separate cover.

The last phone call we made said we should get a cheque in the next 5 to 10 working days, as my son was originally told it would be sorted by 5th May - I will believe it when I see it (5 working days have already passed).

When we asked about compensation the response was 'for what?' - the frustration and hardship caused is not anyone's fault apparently.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. They will be very lucky to get something in 5 working days. It will take a couple for it to reach the centralised post room. It will then sit there for any amount of days, depending on how busy they are, before it is finally enveloped & posted out 2nd class. Give it another week or two.

  2. If this story is true, which I doubt, the issue is with the March advisor not HMRC.
    One employment in the year would require a p50 plus the leaving p45. You said you tried 'unsuccessfully many times' to download the form. I fail to see how there would be an issue, they are online as .pdf files which can be printed from site.
    You called in March, you certainly should have been given a form and asked to forward that and the p45. You were told 12 weeks? Nope, wasn't that bad then 4/6 perhaps but not 12, but we'll run with that figure. To be told to call back I can appreciate given the '12 week' processing time, request made over the phone, referred across and repayment in 4 weeks. Now the advisor should only have told you to do this if the p45 was on system.
    You call back in April and we tell you to send in the p45, this shows we don't have it, at this point blame falls on both the March advisor and the employer (why hadn't they sent the p45 in?). Also you've already been made aware of a '12 week' turn-around so the 3 months should've come as no surprise!
    Extra information needed? If you had one job just a p45 needed, the p45 you sent in. Information you believe HMRC already held? What exactly?
    Compensation? Not really a compensation case in all honesty, delayed certainly but not purposely nor maliciously.

  3. A brief follow on from my post above - The fact that the employer didn't do the right thing seems to be ignored. A form p38(S) should've been given if it was temporary and the earnings under £6475. It seems that they didn't even bother to have a p46 completed by the employee which would've given a 647L cum code and likely taken no tax. But of course these things are by-the-by when all culpability can be laid at the feet of HMRC!!

  4. Yeah, I blame the employer primarily too. It's not difficult depending on the size of the workforce. No tax tax codes need to be monitored but as has been pointed out a correctly completed p46 would have done the job.

    Still, not really an excuse for having to wait weeks and weeks for what I expect in the greater scheme of things was a relatively small refund.