My thanks to a loyal reader who has alerted me to a possible problem with Working Tax Credits, and an erroneous bar code that may have caused HMRC to withdraw (by accident) claims for a number of Tax Credits on 28 April.
As per my loyal reader:
"I am currently having a battle with HMRC regarding a claim for Working Tax Credits. It appears that on 28th April HMRC 'accidentally' withdrew thousands (possibly tens of thousands) of Tax Credits claims due to a clerical error with the claim form (apparently an incorrect bar code was printed on the forms!).My loyal reader has given me permission to publish the text of the email that he has sent to Homer and Osborne today:
I would imagine that HMRC has suppressed this story to avoid embarrassment, however I have alerted Lin Homer, George Osborne, and several national newspapers, as I believe the story deserves to be told."
"Dear Sirs/MadamHas anyone else encountered this problem?
I posted a claim form for Working Tax Credits at the beginning of April 2014. I understand from staff at the Tax Credits helpline that my claim has yet to be processed due to a ‘clerical error’ at their end. This clerical error being that a number of claims were incorrectly withdrawn because the claim forms had the wrong bar code on them! An excuse which wouldn’t look out of place in a script for Yes, Minister!
Due to HMRC’s reluctance to contact those claimants concerned (HMRC were aware of this error on 28th April, I had to find out for myself on 7th May), I have now spent several wasted hours either on hold to the Tax Credits helpline or trying to obtain fruitless updates on a claim that they had withdrawn!
When I called them on 6th May, I was told that the claim was ready to go into payment, and that I should keep checking my bank account for payments. However, when I telephoned for a further update on 7th May, I was then told that this wasn’t the case and was informed of their inexcusable (and laughable) error. I was also told that it may not be resolved until the end of May, which would mean two whole months between making the claim and payments being made. This is wholly unacceptable.
My complaint is that a government department such as HMRC should not be making these inexcusable errors in the first place, and should contact those claimants involved, and should be doing everything possible (and urgently) to put the errors right.
I have telephoned the Tax Credit helpline every day this week, and not one member of staff appears to have any idea of what the situation is, and cannot even tell me whether my claim has even been looked at! I have been promised several call backs, and as yet, have not received one.
There appears to be no urgency whatsoever on HMRC’s part to correct these issues. I have made a formal complaint to them, and I hope that your input would help.
I am sure that I am not the only person to be affected by this issue, and as a result, I have copied in several national newspapers, as I believe that this issue deserves to be brought to the attention of the public (many of whom will be affected but will have no idea due to the apparent suppression of this serious incident)."
Tax does have to be taxing.
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