The Guardian has printed a letter it received from a reader concerning HMRC hounding the reader for £214 in tax that had already been paid. HMRC went on to threaten to pass the debt on to a debt collection agency.
The reader wrote:
"I did a small amount of private tutoring to top up my income, and duly filed my self-assessment tax return in December for the 2012-13 tax year. I owed £214 and elected to pay via the PAYE system.The Guardian prodded HMRC into investigating the matter and it transpired that the unique tax reference number was incorrect, hence the payment would have been misallocated.
In March I received a letter saying I did not earn enough to do this (not true, but my income is split between three employers) and had to pay the full amount by 12 April. I was annoyed about this but made a payment via bank transfer.
About three weeks later I received the first letter from HM Revenue & Customs saying that, according to its records, I hadn't paid. I ignored this as I just assumed there was a delay in my payment being recorded. A month later, however, when I received a second letter, I checked my online account with HMRC. There was no record of my payment, so I phoned giving my bank details and date of payment.
Now I have received another, more threatening, letter. In that, HMRC states it has repeatedly tried to contact me, but its records still show I owe the tax. It goes on to say it can now arrange for the debt to be passed on to a debt collection agency.
AB, Sheffield, South Yorkshire"
HMRC went on to admit that it should have been able to resolve the matter more quickly, and has agree to send £25 by way of apology.
It is good that the problem has been resolved, it is regrettable that it required a national newspaper to prod HMRC to sort it out.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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