It is regrettable to see that HMRC, in some ways, can act in the same manner as a dodgy private company that seeks to avoid compensating an irate customer; only when enough pressure is applied (often via the media) will the compensation be forthcoming.
Such seems to be the case of Don and Valerie Woodhams who both faced demands for underpaid tax, yet only had one of the demands written off after the intervention of the media (in the case Money Mail).
"Mr Woodhams was sent a £1,200 bill for underpaid tax in 2011/12.The link to the Money Mail article mentions other examples of HMRC only relenting after the intervention of the media.
He had received pension income since 2005. HMRC had sent Mr Woodhams a tax code relating to the pensions he drew from the same insurance company. He checked it out and couldn’t see anything untoward.
But the taxman had previously always sent two separate codes for these pensions, and this meant the insurer now applied one code to both payouts.
Amazingly, HMRC says Mr Woodhams should have realised this error himself and declined his application for a special concession from them.
Mr Woodhams says: ‘HMRC has a bullying and defensive culture. The special concession is a cheats’ charter and a get-out-of-jail card for the taxman.
‘I’m convinced that thousands of honest taxpayers are misled and bullied into paying more income tax than they should.’
Mrs Woodhams was wrongly sent duplicate tax-free personal allowances. She has now had the demand she received for £1,600 written off by HMRC."
To my humble opinion this is puzzling, either the tax demand is valid (these are after all relatively "simple" personal tax calculations, not the complex calculations of a multi national) and should stand or it isn't; in which case it should not require the intervention of the media to correct the error.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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