My thanks to a loyal reader who has advised me of a problem that his father in law (a pensioner) has experienced with HMRC.
His father in law recently received a hefty demand for underpaid tax on his pension income. He phoned HMRC, and had a conversation with a very helpful officer.
It seems that, on investigation by the officer, the person who entered the figures onto HMRC's computer from the paper return had added the tax deducted to the gross amount of the pension; the liability had then been calculated on that figure.
Now, there may be some who say that this problem could have been avoided if the taxpayer had not used "old fashioned" paper but filed his return online.
Three points to counter this argument:
1 Not everyone is connected to the net, nor computer savvy.
2 People have the right to submit paper returns.
3 The taxpayer, in this particular case, did initially try to file online. However, HMRC's system was not working at the time and so rather than waste any further time he filed a paper return.
The question is, how many other paper returns (especially those of taxpayers who may not be so tax "savvy") have had keying errors such as this which have not been spotted/flagged by the taxpayer?
Computers are only as good as the people who programme them and key in the data.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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