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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