Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

HMRC - feeling bullied and pressurised. Can they do this?

(42 Posts)
BettySuarez Fri 22-Mar-13 13:34:27

Two weeks ago DH received a letter from HMRC saying that he owed a tax payment of £3800 (this is in addition to the normal tax he has paid for the year)

He has just spoken on the phone to HMRC today (he has been out of the country for last week) and they have confirmed that this is the correct amount.

The reason for it is that DH was made redundant the year before last and his company basically messed up his redundancy pay when calculating the tax he owed.

HMRC are saying that we have to pay this amount immediately, that it can't be collected from his salary each month and nor will they agree to us paying this off in instalments? Not only that but the debt is now accruing interest sad

DH tried to argue that this isn't an amount we can simply 'find' from thin air but they were having none of it. They said we would have to borrow money from friends or family or sell the family car, did we have any expensive sports equipment etc [cross] and they then advised him to get a loan or use a credit card!!!

We are not disputing the tax bill at all and nor are we refusing to pay it but given that the bill exists through no fault of our own - can they force us to pay it immediately?

I have no idea where we are going to find this money. DH is now thankfully back in work and don't get me wrong, we are doing 'ok' financially but his previous redundancy depleted all of our savings and we have no assets to sell. I'm bloody well not going to sell the family car, it's only worth about £400 anyway!!

Is there some way we can appeal this, or complain? Has anyone else been in this situation before?

Financeprincess Wed 13-Nov-13 18:39:16

Well said Cheekymonkey. Those "utter bastards" the OP is being encouraged to complain about, build a case against, report to her MP etc. are the people who make sure that there's enough money to pay for hospitals, schools, tax credits, child benefit etc.

Cheekymonkey71 Wed 13-Nov-13 16:34:15

I wonder if this person ever got time to pay? This person must has received £30k plus redundancy to get a tax bill with £30k tax free! We slate celebrities for not paying their tax bills. If people don't put in how are those who need it going to take out. Time to pay shouldn't be an expectation it should just be for those in financial hardship I'm not expert but £30k+ doesn't sound like it falls into that.

J91983 Sat 13-Jul-13 12:36:21

My mp & myself have lodged an appeal and I'm making a formal complaint about the officer who did not listen to me and stopped my child tax credit with absolutely not proof or evidence.The list I was asked to send in as "evidence" "proof" not once was asked for I received my hmrc letter June 3rd phoned straight away to attempt to tell them my male cousin lives here (gay) as his mother & my father both passed away dec 17th 2012 were family.Hmrc have completely ignored this fact & are chasing me for my ex to a sum now of nearly £15k!! I sent the relavant in including my council tax which clearly shows my cousin lives here due to circumstances etc.Funny that my council tax hasn't been returned?? Yet the rest they asked for was as "insufficient" they cannot pursue me for an ex when my council tax is 100% proof that my cousin lives here!! So I'll ring the payment line and they'll see an mp note/notes (they're ignoring her too!) I've until aug 8th to pay £15k but no income coz hmrc stopped my money with NO proof currently supporting myself & 3 kids on £59 a wk carers as one is disabled!! And mums credit card full now sad actually looking forward to the appeal as I know my council tax has conveniently dissapeared but my mp has a copy! I've no assets too seize either so exactly what are they gonna try I'm furious why ask for evidence & proof if they're gonna dismiss it anyway,I'm in a rented home & receive mail for ppl I don't know bank stuff etc they wnt see a penny from me as there's NO overpayment I've applied again on the advice of my officer but as he terminated my award over the phone his words "it's too late to overturn re apply" moron!! Plus he can no longer deal with me as I made a personal complaint "he asked if I was in a relationship with my gay cousin in a very vile tone" so seems no ones dealing with me now the only numbers I get are the helpline,,,,,ridiculous!!

ChablisLover Sat 23-Mar-13 20:51:38

Keep trying to get a plan set up.

I'm a tax adviser and basically the last payment plan I got set up was for one year - they wouldn't accept a longer length and I had to jump through hoops to get it sorted for my client.

Hmrc don't want to be seen to be providing credit, they will ask if you can sell assets o borrow money from family or bank before agreeing

They really are cracking down on payment support.

Hmrc log all calls or they should do

A letter will get stuck in the system - the current post backlog is 4 weeks! And that's just to get the letter red not dealt with.

Ring again - and keep trying.

Wereonourway Fri 22-Mar-13 22:06:30

I totally agree mixed, I was just describing the set up as someone who is aware of it iykwim.

Te systems we use are set up in such a format that there is no way we (basic telephone advisors) can deviate from them.

Although I don't work in taxes I know the systems are identical(apart from their content) and was just trying I reassure the op that there are systems in place to challenge and complain.

Lin homer was on bbc breakfast this week discussing the service hmrc provided and got in a bit of a stew. The number of queries and complaints are closely monitored in all areas of hmrc work and protocol may well end up being changed for front line advisors( ie what we can and can't do, or what we have the authority to action) but at the moment, written correspondence, following complaints procedure if necessary, is the way forward for op

MixedBerries Fri 22-Mar-13 21:39:18

This is people's lives and livelihoods we're talking about. It shouldn't matter which level of adviser/employee at HMRC they get through to.

MixedBerries Fri 22-Mar-13 21:33:13

I'm perfectly aware that HMRC staff are just "doing their job". I don't hold anything against individual employees. It's just that knowlingly making people unemployed (putting small companies out of business who employ others) and recouping less overall than would be recouped if an installment system had been accepted is bonkers to me. I have no issue with paying taxes. Nor did my step dad for that matter but he never got the chance to. Maybe he got a bad HMRC rep. But that's unacceptable in my book.

Wereonourway Fri 22-Mar-13 20:41:37

I work for hmrc but not on taxes.

The systems used make it impossible for individual. "Front line" advisors to use any kind of discretion. The regulations in place are set and advisors are marked against them, rules simply have to be followed .

What I would say, as an employee, is to write in, keep copies and persevere. As other posters have advised.

If you are seen to accept the need to repay but do not at this time have the means to do so, imo they will engage and listen. If you write in and if you stand firm.

I think the initial advice you have had, whilst unhelpful and worrying, is the old "computer says no" line. Which, for the level of advisor you have spoken to, will be the case.

If you correspond in writing, and use complaints procedure, you should get it sorted.

BettySuarez Fri 22-Mar-13 20:29:20

Interesting comments re employer potentially being liable for the error.

The error was made through the PAYE system by his employer but DH is required to do his own self assessment each year despite the fact he is employed, not self employed)

Would this make a difference re liability?

Pilgit Fri 22-Mar-13 17:10:22

Barred - I think it's the perceived disparity in how the 'little' people are treated as opposed to the huge corporations that really pisses people off. As seen from this thread lots of people get pursued quite forcefully (and rudely) by the HMRC for, in the scheme of things, small amounts of money. Then they see in the news that deals have been done by the HMRC with big banks or corporations writing off millions in tax or getting away with paying peanuts and it just feels unfair. That may not be the reality of the situation but that is how it is perceived. I, personally, have only ever had good dealings with the HMRC - have had re-payments twice and when I wrote admitting that I had forgotten to declare income from my shares I got to pay it back through my tax code with no interest (after laughing at me for getting my knickers in a twist over owing them a couple of hundred).

MummytoKatie Fri 22-Mar-13 16:53:09

Interestingly a friend of mine has just put up a FB status saying that it is nix.e to be proved right but not so nice when the people who are wrong are HMRC who owe her money but she now has to wait several months to get it.....

BarredfromhavingStella Fri 22-Mar-13 16:27:48

Sorry Sugar but that is simply not the case-there are literally hundreds of repayments issued every day, you just don't hear about them as people only feel the need to tell you when they have had a bad experience unfortunately.

Barred No one denies that the members of staff who we have to speak to at HMRC are doing their job and are doing a difficult job at that.

The issue I and many others may have I'm sure is that it often seems like a David v Goliath situation, if they say you owe it they pursue relentlessly and bully but when they owe a member of the public money, well it's like getting blood from a stone.

Often they don't get things right but refuse to concede that they have got it wrong.

chris481 Fri 22-Mar-13 15:55:14

If an employer makes an error in PAYE deduction, the law requires that they must have taken reasonable care to operate PAYE correctly and have made the error in good faith, before the debt can be passed to the employee. So check that you agree that both conditions are met.

www.hmrc.gov.uk/paye/payroll/day-to-day/errors-previous-year.htm#4

BreasticlesNTesticles Fri 22-Mar-13 15:54:45

It is cheaper to get a loan and pay interest on that than it is to pay the money back in instalments to HMRC as they charge a higher interest rate.

Also, why it may not be your fault and it may not feel fair, you may have had the benefit of money that wasn't rightfully yours for several months. I accept that you were not aware of that, but it doesn't stop it being true.

However, on the off chance what I have just said is not correct I would ask them to check that tax is due and explain what information they have that states that is the case. I would also ask your dh's ex employer why they didn't pay the right amount of tax at the time. That way 2 people will be checking whether the tax is due or not. You never know they may have made an error and you won't owe anything.

BarredfromhavingStella Fri 22-Mar-13 15:47:59

Oh dear, not another HMRC bashing thread-can I ask you all to remember that whilst you're calling them such lovely names you try to remember that they are fellow members of the public who are simply doing the job that is required of them-also have a think about what the money they collect pays for...

notnagging Fri 22-Mar-13 15:44:39

I'm on a payment plan but they initially told me to take out a loan to pay itshock

MixedBerries Fri 22-Mar-13 15:34:36

Blinking heck aldi- 8 months wait at CAB! It's a drop-in service here. I suppose it depends which part of the country you're in. Maybe OP will have better luck!
And I second that HMRC are bastards and arseholes. They forced my step dad into bankruptcy over something very like this. Instead of them agreeing to installments which he could have paid, they opted to get the administrators in and barely got back 5% of what he owed. One more small business closed, one more unemployed at age 60 in an area of high unemployment. Makes no sense.

Nancy66 Fri 22-Mar-13 15:30:03

Staff have been instructed to take a hard line on allowing people to pay in instalments because there is such a short fall of money being collected.

It's policy to refuse a payment plan initially in the hope the person who owes them will find a way..loan, credit card etc.

If you stick to your guns they will eventually accept a plan.

hermioneweasley Fri 22-Mar-13 15:27:04

I thought underpaid PAYE was the employer's liability

aldiwhore Fri 22-Mar-13 15:24:54

Don't bank on being able to see anyone from CAB quickly, our nearest has an 8 months waiting list.

aldiwhore Fri 22-Mar-13 15:22:57

They ALWAYS refuse a payment plan until they've come to visit. It happened to us, demanding we pay it all, and right now, and adding fines and interest each day. UNTIL we arranged a visit from 'who knows who' who went through ALL our finances with us in person, agreed that we couldn't get a loan/sell items to finance the bill and accepted that we couldn't afford to pay it all off in one go. This resulted in all the fines and interest being wiped, and a (Larger than comfortable) monthly bill until the debt was clear.

They are utter utter bastards. I don't see why the self-employed can't pay tax monthly like any other employed person. And yes, we 'should' put 25% of any money earned straight into a separate account as soon as we get it, but if work is slow or stops completely, you still need to eat and only a saint would leave their tax account and starve... much easier if we could just wave good bye to it and pay the taxman straight away. Of course, HMRC wouldn't earn so much interest if they actually made the system a little more user friendly so that won't happen.

Good luck op, some good advice here. You are not alone, you're not the first, it isn't 'fair'.

Rather than PAYE, self employed COULD pay into a PAYG account that cannot be touched by anyone other than HMRC. Perhaps.

MixedBerries Fri 22-Mar-13 15:09:51

CAB are really useful. www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/tax_e.htm
They also have a downloadable helpsheet on income tax arrears which you can find by searching. Good luck!

Foxranawaywithhisshoes Fri 22-Mar-13 15:05:42

If it was a genuine redundancy payment then it would normally be tax free up to £30K.
www.hmrc.gov.uk/employers/redundancy-er.htm

BettySuarez Fri 22-Mar-13 14:42:42

and I won't mention my one-eyed baby triplets grin

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now