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to think this is the employment agency's responsibility?

(25 Posts)
RentANDBills Fri 18-Nov-16 09:33:55

I received a scary letter from HMRC a month ago telling me that I hadn't paid enough income tax in 2012/2013.
I run a small business, which at that time was not making any profit so my tax return was fairly simple - £0 profit = £0 income tax.

For a brief 2 month period that tax year I was employed by a family as their Nanny.
Now Nannies (for some bizarre reason) get offered a job in NET salary, and I was offered the job at £400 a week NET.
This was done through an agency who placed me there and took their fee. (Their fee is 8 x weekly salary, so in this case £3200, which is obviously huge).
They weren't great at the time, just dumped me at the job and left me to it.

Family circumstances meant that the family had to make me redundant 2 months later, it wasn't very nice at the time for them and it was incredibly awkward. I never received any payslips nor a P45/60 from them.

Moved on and didn't think much of it at the time, I was paid via bank transfer and told all the PAYE was sorted.

Now HMRC have sent me a breakdown of that year and state that I haven't paid any income tax for that employment. The bill exceeds £400, which tbh I don't have. I didn't receive £400 more from that employment - I received the net salary that was agreed upon the job offer, so I haven't "benefited" from this tax oversight.
I tried to contact the family to get a copy of my P45/60 to work out what happened, and they have ignored me.

I ended up going to the agency to explain and ask them to chase up. They confirmed that they had a contract via email on file which stated the £400 NET salary but they couldn't send this to me because it was an email to my employer, something about data protection.
They said they would contact my employer to chase.

Now HMRC are chasing me for £400 that was my employers responsibility to pay, I have explained and they are delaying their end but its been 3 weeks since I contacted the agency and family and have heard nothing.

AIBU to expect the agency to sort this out?
They advertised the job as £400 net, which is what I received. It is their job, and they were paid a significant sum, to organise the employment, including contract etc.
Normally the employee is responsible for their tax, I'm aware of this, but in this situation my employers have failed to pay me enough to cover the income tax (which would just have been basic rate btw) as agree in our job offer.

Sorry this is so long!

19lottie82 Fri 18-Nov-16 10:02:12

You'd think so, but unfortunately not. You need to get this sorted ASAP.

Get in touch with the HMRC they will let you arrange a payment plan if you can't afford to pay the £400 all at once.

flowery Fri 18-Nov-16 10:05:19

Can't see how it's anything to do with the agency- you were employed by the family directly by the sounds of things.

When you didn't receive payslips, P45/P60 what did you do to chase those up to make sure your tax and NI was being paid?

MauiWest Fri 18-Nov-16 10:13:02

You only worked 2 months and you got a tax bill? The tax allowance was around £8k in 2012, how much did you get paid!

You can always contact the tax office for advice, they are normally very friendly and helpful, at least to give you information. They can't cancel a debt if you own something, but always worth speaking with them.

firsttimer12345 Fri 18-Nov-16 10:29:31

I don't think you should be paying any tax. Regardless of mistakes made by your employers and/or agency. If you were earning £400 a week for 2 months, that's way below tax threshold. You would have had to have early £10k ish to pay that much tax.

firsttimer12345 Fri 18-Nov-16 10:30:00


ClopySow Fri 18-Nov-16 11:12:03

It's either a mistake on their part or you have some other income in that year as PA in 12/13 was £8000. Did you pay yourself any salary from the business?

RentANDBills Fri 18-Nov-16 12:10:19

Sorry, to clarify I was working for that family for 2 months, and I worked elsewhere (an office) for about 6 months of the year. The total salary earned (from employment, not self-employment) for the year was about £20,000ish. All of my other employment paid the correct tax.
When you take into consideration my tax free allowance for the whole year, this family should have paid £400 in income tax.

The reason I got the letter in the first place was because I was also self employed, but I didn't earn anything from that self-employment.

RentANDBills Fri 18-Nov-16 12:12:15

When you didn't receive payslips, P45/P60 what did you do to chase those up to make sure your tax and NI was being paid?

I was told that they would be provided in due course and as it was my first proper nannying job (and I was very nervous not to rock the boat) I didn't question it. The job then ended very abruptly (my boss text me at midnight about the family situation, I was forced to leave early the next morning) and it got lost in the drama.

Surely as employers they have the responsibility of paying me correctly and providing the right documentation?

BarbaraofSeville Fri 18-Nov-16 12:18:34

If the family (or the agency) employed you as an employee, that is their responsibility to pay the tax. Have you given details of both of these to HMRC?

Who paid the agency fee? You, or the family that employed you? Either way, that is huge. Is that really how people employ nannies by paying an enormous sum to agencies? I knew employment agencies were crooks, but I thought that they took a percentage out of every payslip and any up front fee would be more modest - eg one or two weeks salary at most - 2 months is ridiculous.

jaffajiffy Fri 18-Nov-16 12:20:05

They would have used the generic tax code that assumed THEY (not the office job) used up your personal allowance. I'm sorry but it's really up to you to ensure each employment uses the correct tax code. And it's also why nanny jobs should offer gross, not net, salaries.

louisejxxx Fri 18-Nov-16 12:22:27

Yes they do, but you also have a responsibility to make sure they are paying appropriately on your behalf. To be honest I don't think you'll be able to feign ignorance with this.

dodobookends Fri 18-Nov-16 12:28:17

You have already paid the tax as it was deducted from your salary, and you received the net amount. The employer should have paid it to HMRC, so the tax people should be chasing them for the money.

I'd maybe write to HMRC detailing exactly who you were working for and the name of the agency, and ask them to deal with it that way. You aren't responsible for paying it IMO - you've paid it already.

LIZS Fri 18-Nov-16 12:33:18

Did you do the office work before or after the nannying? Either way it sounds as if they have both dipped into your full tax free allowance so the underpayment has accumulated. Did you/employer make NI contributions throughout or is there a 2 month gap. You should chase up the payslips and could request your NI record in case that wasn't correct.

Loaferloveforyou Fri 18-Nov-16 12:43:21

Could it be from the office job? When I changed jobs my new employer used up my tax code meaning I had underpaid. HMRC amended my tax code so I had less of an allowance the following year so they could claim back the underpayment. Have they given you his option?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Fri 18-Nov-16 12:54:12

Yeah I'm guessing they didn't have the right tax code for you and so both they and the office job tried to use your tax free allowance. What tax code did you provide them with?

It's very likely to be nothing to do with the agency if they just matched you to the job.

RentANDBills Fri 18-Nov-16 12:54:20

I definitely paid tax in my other employment as I have the payslips and P60 showing this, this took into account my tax free allowance averaged out per month.

RentANDBills Fri 18-Nov-16 12:55:56

I'm frustrated because the agency just dumped me there and did no other work. They get paid a lot of money to organise everything.
I'm also frustrated with the employer as they agreed to pay the tax, I've not received more money because of this oversight, I got paid the amount that was agreed.

LIZS Fri 18-Nov-16 12:58:29

But your code for the other job should have taken previous into account. You assumed tax was paid on your nanny job, but they may have also used your allowance. Your mistake I'm afraid,

AnchorDownDeepBreath Fri 18-Nov-16 14:27:21

I definitely paid tax in my other employment as I have the payslips and P60 showing this, this took into account my tax free allowance averaged out per month.

That's not what we mean. You got £8k as a personal allowance in 12/13. Your tax code needs to split across your jobs. If you give the wrong tax code to the nanny family, they can't pay tax for you correctly - for example, if they used a tax code that suggested you had your full PA left.

The agency sounds like a matchmaking agency which means that, essentially, they do just put you in the job and then cease work. They do introductions, and once they introduced you and the family, they got their fee and their part was over. They were not handling payroll, so this is nothing to do with them. Their fee was to introduce you. Some agencies do handle pay and issues, too, but they tend to have a monthly fee.

If you gave the wrong tax code, this is your fault even though you didn't get paid anymore - nobody is suggesting that you got paid money that should have paid your tax, just that this isn't as straight-forward as saying that they employed you and so this is their problem.

Who did you have the initial conversations with about the salary? Did you correct the tax code on that documentation (as they needed this to work out what your salary would be?) and if so, do you have proof that you did? If they failed to correct it and you can prove that, you have more leverage, although it's still your tax and HMRC will chase you.

LivingOnTheDancefloor Fri 18-Nov-16 14:35:16

I think it is between you and the family.
Nanny agencies are usually only responsible for matching you with a family, and possible setting up the contract, after that they are not involved. The family was your employer.
Don't you have their phone number?

WLF46 Fri 18-Nov-16 14:38:50

It depends on your contract. If there was no contract, it's your responsibility. (Actually, it's your responsibility even if there was a contract.)

Not paying the correct tax is like breaking the law: you are responsible, even if you didn't know that what you were doing was wrong, or thought someone else was doing it for you.

I would recommend explaining everything to the tax people. They will want the money owed but would likely accept a payment plan whereby you pay x per month.

BTW I've yet to come across anyone who has a positive story to tell about an employment agency. They exist to scam skim scam money from you just as much as they do from the employer. They know people are desperate and can't really do much, other than resign. The last agency job I had took 20% of my net pay for the privilege of giving me a job - the thing I objected to was the deceit they employed, advertising the role at a rate that was not available. Of course my employer was paying them too (I had to sign off their invoice to confirm the hours were correct!) so for every £100 the employer paid out, I got about £40... before tax and NI.

RentANDBills Fri 18-Nov-16 16:42:28

If you give the wrong tax code to the nanny family

I didn't give them a tax code at all. I filled out a P45 document at the time.

I think I perhaps got my own wires crossed - as the Agency placed me, I feel it is somewhat on them to contact them, as I have failed to do so? The family will not respond back to me at all. They are completely ignoring me. I haven't even told them that its regarding money, I've simply requested a copy of my documents.

ClopySow Fri 18-Nov-16 17:45:05

If you gave your p45 to the agency/employer they should have calculated it for you. I'd call or write to HMRC with details of agency and employer. It is their responsibility to keep all financial documentation for 6 years after the event, so they should still have records. Unless they gave you a contract stating that you understand it is your responsibility to pay tax and ni. Definitely fight it.

dodobookends Sat 19-Nov-16 00:54:40

1. Did you do the nanny job before or after the office one?
2. What figures did you put on your tax return for both employments?
3. Have you still got a copy of your tax return?
4. If you are also registered as self-employed, then you will have had two separate areas on the return to fill in. The self-employed element and the employee bit.

Do you have any paperwork that says you were to be paid the 'net' sum of £xx for the nanny work? This is pretty important.

Say you were due to be paid £1000 net per month. They would have paid you that figure whether you were a taxpayer or not. If it turns out that you were a taxpayer, then they should have calculated the gross and deducted the tax, paid £1000 net to you and sent the tax payment to HMRC. Therefore they should be paying it, not you. IMHO.

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