The ICAEW Tax Faculty has urged people not to be afraid to complain to HMRC about problems, and goes on to advise that people should also raise issues concerning HMRC with their MP as well.
I fully concur, and have been advising loyal readers who write to me with their problems to raise them with their MPs; as it is the politicians who are ultimately responsible for the complexity of this country's tax system and the disaster that is HMRC.
Specifically the Faculty states that it has had reports from its volunteers and members that incorrect liabilities on HMRC employer PAYE accounts are an increasingly common problem, and many of these cannot be solved by software suppliers.
Some of these have arisen because:
- RTI returns or other notifications or payments to HMRC have not been processed correctly, or indeed at all
- Employee records have been duplicated
- Amounts have been reallocated without reference to employer or agent.
There are also difficulties interpreting what is shown on HMRC’s Business Tax Dashboard (alias Liabilities and Payments Viewer – available only to employers, not their agents). Hours have been wasted on the phone to HMRC trying to sort things out or even negotiate with bailiffs collecting apparent PAYE debts that are not due.
The Faculty states that if you recognise any of this, you will be aware that this takes time, and time is money. Interestingly, and ironically in the light of events, the impact assessment published alongside Budget 2012, which has not been updated, estimated that RTI was supposed to save employers more than £300M per year.
"ICAEW and other representatives of employers, pension payers, payroll agents, bureaux and software developers and HMRC are working hard to try to resolve PAYE RTI difficulties by way of a joint task force. HMRC is publicising updates on its What’s New webpage.
Given the current problems surrounding RTI, it seems timely to remind employers and their agents at the coal-face about how to complain to HMRC and seek financial redress.
Please see the Tax Faculty’s TAXTools 4 - Making complaints to HMRC for more details and help on how to make a complaint.
When reclaiming additional professional fees, the employer/client should supply HMRC with a receipted fee note. To help clients’ cash flow, we suggest that agents bill separately for such additional costs and the client pays by cheque, which is then banked by the agent once the employer/client receives reimbursement from HMRC.
For PAYE RTI problems, write to HMRC at the following address:
Customer Operations Employer Office
Benton Park View
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Complaining to HMRC does not stop you writing also to your MP, should you wish. Your MP can draw the fact that all is not well with RTI to the attention of the relevant Minister.
As a general point, agents can register with an HMRC Agent Account Manager (AAM) to pass through comments and get a helping hand. For details of what AAMs can do and how to register see HMRC’s guidance Agent Account Managers (AAMs) in HM Revenue & Customs.
However, while AAMs will work with agents to resolve client-specific problems, the Agents' Issue Resolution Service does not replace HMRC’s process for formal complaints, which agents should use first."
Tax does have to be taxing.
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