There are only two certainties in life, death and taxes.
Sadly, thanks to an error with RTI, HMRC tried to meld the two certainties together and sent a tax bill to the late Isabella Todd who died in 2002.
The bill for £655 was opened by her daughter Kate MacGlashan, who claims that HMRC staff refused to believe that her mother had died.
She is quoted by the Mail:
"Not only was I angry at the ludicrous £655 tax bill, I was incensed when — for half an hour in a dispute about identity — the official consistently maintained that I did not know my own mother’s date of birth. Only after a lot of arguing did he finally agree something might be wrong.After Money Mail got in touch with HMRC, it quickly emerged that the tax bill had been sent in error. Mrs MacGlashan’s mother had been paid a small company pension by Prudential every three months. When she died in 2002, this payment stopped.
I was extremely tempted to ask the young man in the call centre if he would like me to lend him a shovel to dig her up so he could speak to her."
However, the newly introduced RTI created a record for Mrs Todd that automatically triggered a tax bill. This wrongly calculated underpaid tax. It was sent to her daughter’s house because she’d been cared for there before she died.
Elaine Clark of Cheapaccounting.co.uk is quoted:
"It may look like a simple administration mistake, but this shocking incident displays a shocking lack of control of people’s personal information — a deceased record should have been picked up.HMRC has now wiped out the underpaid tax and sent Mrs MacGlashan a cheque for £100 to apologise.
The taxman has made a lot of noise about improving its customer service, but howlers like this show it has an awfully long way to go."
Let us see what happens when HMRC are able to directly debit what it believes to be be taxes owed from people's bank accounts!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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