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Appeal letter to Hmrc

(21 Posts)
Jennywallpaper Tue 21-Nov-17 20:18:14

Hi I was wondering if someone could help me, I need to write a letter to HMRC to appeal fees that occurred due to previous unpaid tax. I have connected HMRC and paid the tax owed and fees from the year they were owed but because I was put onto self assessment I had to fill in a form which I never did (because I didn't realise I had to as I'm not self employed) I have occurred more charges. When I contacted them last year they told me these fees would be cleared but they haven't been and now I need to write a letter appealing them, but I'm not sure what I need to write, if someone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate some help. Thank you 😊

Munchyseeds Tue 21-Nov-17 21:50:14

Have you actually managed to talk to someone..(easier said than Done!)
A similar thing happened to me, I did my final self was tax form then informed them I was no longer self employed, got an email conformation
Following year got another form...emailed again
Following year more forms which I ignored...then £100 fine for not submitting a tax return!. I was slightly pissed off by this point.
Did manage to get it sorted over the phone eventually, the automated system is a pile of crap and I kept being cut off

Good luck

Jennywallpaper Wed 22-Nov-17 09:05:09

Hi @Munchyseeds yes I was on the phone to them on Monday after I got the letter saying I still owe fees, and they said it's because I haven't filled in the self assessment form and sent an appeal letter for the fees. But when I rang last year I was told those fees would be cleared and I paid the ones from the year the tax was owed. It's all a pain in the ass!! They really know how to get to you don't they. I might try ringing again and see if I can speak to Someone else.

karriecreamer Wed 22-Nov-17 10:50:19

Have you actually submitted the tax return yet? Or have you received a letter saying you don't have to submit it? Until either happens, they're waiting for the return and will continue to send penalty letters.

Jennywallpaper Thu 23-Nov-17 09:07:42

Hi @karriecreamer I filled in what I thought was a self assessment online last year and never heard anything from them again until this letter came saying i still owed ££ in fees. I've never been self employed so this is all a little confusing for me, my tax was always just deducted from my wages.

reetgood Thu 23-Nov-17 09:30:24

I’m not sure I quite understand your situation.

Why did Hmrc think you are self employed? You usually only become self employed when you tell them that you are.
Did you tell them that you are self employed?
Are you actually self employed? Sometimes companies pay as self employed when the role is employment. Are you paid through PAYE, and is that your only income source?
You will have to tell Hmrc you are no longer self employed if that’s the case
Note that even if you have ceased self employment, you still have to fill in a tax return for the tax year that you are self employed. Eg, if you told Hmrc that you are not self employed in April 2017, you’d still need to fill out a tax return for 16/17. That return would be due by jan 2018.
If you are still self employed that means you have to a) fill in a tax return by Jan 31st b) pay what you owe in tax by jan 31st and c) pay class 2 ni contributions unless your earnings in a year are less than £6025.
What penalties do you have applied? Is it definitely a penalty or just ni contributions? How much is the penalty? You get a penalty if you file your tax return late, and more if you don’t pay any tax you owe. To apply to have the penalty removed, you need a valid excuse (hmrc’s Definition of valid!).

These are:

. Reasonable excuses

You can appeal against some penalties if you have a reasonable excuse, for example for your return or payment being late.

What may count as a reasonable excuse
A reasonable excuse is something that stopped you meeting a tax obligation that you took reasonable care to meet, for example:

your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs
you had a serious or life-threatening illness
your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return
service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online services
a fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return
postal delays that you couldn’t have predicted
delays related to a disability you have
You must send your return or payment as soon as possible after your reasonable excuse is resolved.

What won’t count as a reasonable excuse
The following won’t be accepted as a reasonable excuse:

you relied on someone else to send your return and they didn’t
your cheque bounced or payment failed because you didn’t have enough money
you found the HMRC online system too difficult to use
you didn’t get a reminder from HMRC
you made a mistake on your tax return

Given the info you’ve provided im not sure on what grounds you would appeal a penalty? If you can clarify it may help to suggest what grounds you’d use for appeal

Jennywallpaper Thu 23-Nov-17 10:27:51

@reetgood no I have never been self employed, I have worked for the same company for 10 years and I'm payed through PAYE, I used to work full time and my tax was automatically deducted from my wage but then when I went off on maternity leave and went back part time I no longer earned enough to pay tax, so the tax I owed could not be deducted from my wage so the put me to self assessment. I have paid the tax that I owed and the fees from that year, and I was told the other fees would be removed but I just received a letter claiming I still owe them these fees, I rang them on Monday and they told me I need to send a letter appealing these fees even though I had previously been told they no longer applied. I hope that makes some sort of sense blush

reetgood Thu 23-Nov-17 10:49:40

Hmmm. ‘The tax could no longer be deducted from my wage’. Did your employer tell you that? When they ‘put you on self assessment’, do you mean they now pay you your wages without tax deducted?

How are your wages paid now? Do you get a payslip?

Jennywallpaper Thu 23-Nov-17 10:59:45

I'm not sure if my employer told me, it's been a few years and I was off on maternity leave so I can't really remember much about it. My wages are still paid the same way, and I no longer pay tax as I don't earn enough. yes I get a payslip every 4 weeks when I get paid.

reetgood Thu 23-Nov-17 11:00:31

To explain why I am asking these questions: i am wondering if your employer is treating you as self employed and paying you without deducting tax or paying employers ni. This is not correct of them given your description... however if you are being paid without tax being deducted at source then you ARE self employed and will need to file a tax return. If you haven’t told Hmrc that you are not self employed, and haven’t filed for the relevant period, I don’t know if you can appeal penalty fees.

However it’s difficult to tell from the information you give.

What tax years were you self employed?
What years do the letters say the fees apply to? How much are the fees?
If you receive a payslip from your employer showing ni being deducted, have you told Hmrc that you are not self employed? When did you tell them?

reetgood Thu 23-Nov-17 11:05:37

Ok cross post. You need to get your information together because nothing you are saying is making me think you will have a valid case to appeal penalty fees.

When did you return from maternity leave?
Do you get a payslip showing your employers payroll details and your ni number? This is important because it will help establish that you are employed.

What your employer told you about needing to be self employed because you don’t earn enough to pay tax is not correct. You can still be paid through PAYE even if you don’t earn enough to pay tax. This makes me a bit suspicious.

Jennywallpaper Thu 23-Nov-17 11:18:40

My employer didn't tell me anything about being self employed, I have never been self employed, my wages have always been paid the same way, the only thing that changed was my earnings as I went from full time to part time I no longer earn enough to pay tax. I don't know why I was put on self assessment that was down to HMRC not my employer. I work for a major company so there's definitely nothing suspicious going on from their side of it. It was 4 years ago so I'm probably missing some of the details. As far as I was aware it was all sorted last year when I paid the tax that I owed and the fees from that year, and the person I spoke to then told me the fees from the following years would be cancelled but now they are still claiming I need to pay these fees or send a letter appealing them.

reetgood Thu 23-Nov-17 11:30:34

This is where I’m not properly understanding I think - self employment is down to you to notify.

Although, if you say this happened around maternity leave, is what happened that you got a p800 letter? That asks you to fill out a simple assessment.

This sounds like it might be the issue?

Have you told them that you’re not self employed and don’t need to fill in a return?

Jennywallpaper Thu 23-Nov-17 11:36:45

I never told them I was self employed, this is what my issue was too. I don't understand why I was put into self assessment. Yes I've told them I'm not self employed on more that one occasion, I receive tax credits so they have all my employment details from that also. They only thing that has changed in the 10 years I've worked for the company is my earnings have reduced. It's very frustrating! I now feel like they have got extra money from me for paying a fine for something that wasn't my fault. I just want to get it sorted as I feel like it's hanging over me and I'm worried they will keep at me for this money.

Tugtupite Thu 23-Nov-17 11:52:17

Hi OP.
Just to be really clear: self-employment and self-assessment are NOT directly connected.

To be removed from self-assessment system you must formally apply through HMRC which includes giving a reason why. They may look at your last tax return to verify that. They may also refuse.

If you have been removed from self assessment obligations you will receive a paper letter with reference number from HMRC explicitly stating that you no longer have to file through self assessment unless your circs change.

Until you have that piece of paper, you are on self-assessment and liable to overdue finings, irrespective of your employment status.

Do you have any professional fees or membership subscriptions or uniform dry cleaning receipts etc that you could use to soften the blow?

It's frustrating and HMRC can be quite intimidating; I hope you get it sorted soon.

Jennywallpaper Thu 23-Nov-17 11:58:52

Hi @Tugtupite it was only that one year that they are saying I had to fill in a self assessment form for. I think I'm just going to have to phone them again to be honest, as I'm just getting more confused and frustrated. It all happened as I had not paid enough tax in 2014 and then they said I had to pay they tax owed and fill in a self assessment form, which I have now done and paid the fees from that year, but now they are still trying to get me to pay the fees from the other years even though I was told last year these would be cleared. I hope I'm making sense , I'm probably not. Thanks everyone for trying to help I do appreciate it!!

eurochick Thu 23-Nov-17 12:03:32

I think tug might have hit the nail on the head. If you are asked to complete self-assessment you need to keep doing that until told otherwise. It’s not just about self- employment - I have been asked to complete self- assessment when employed.

reetgood Thu 23-Nov-17 12:06:16

Ahhhh. I think what might have happened is that you got a p800 letter saying you hadn’t paid enough tax when you were on maternity. They could put you into self assesssment there. If you see my link in a previous post, none of the other reasons apply to you? No-one’s asked you to be a company director as a favour, for example?

Or is what you’re being asked to complete a simple assessment, not self assessment I wonder.

When you have told them about your circumstances, have you ever put it in writing? This may be part of the problem, if you’ve only told them on the phone.

I also wonder if you might have a tax code problem but that is beyond my capability!

So here’s what I’d do: phone Hmrc self assessment line. I’ve usually found the helpline to actually be helpful. If you get someone who is not helpful, wind up the call and call back until you get someone who is.

Ask them if they can see why you are on their system as needing to do self assessment. Self assessment is different from being self employed, some people have to fill in self assessment returns for other reasons. If it is because one year you didn’t pay enough tax, that’s clearly been sorted. Ask when the fees relate to and what they are for. Ask if you can appeal penalty charges with a reasonable excuse that you didn’t believe you had to file (If you’ve had a letter telling you to file, then this probably wouldn’t count as a reasonable excuse). Ask them is there are any circumstances in your situation which give you ground to appeal the charges.
Ask them if you need to give them notice in writing if you can establish you no longer need to fill in a self assessment return. Ask them where you need to send that. If you have already put it in writing, make sure they have a record of that.
Explain to them you’d understood the matter was resolved, and as it appears that’s not the case, how can you resolve it.

Basically, just stress that you’d really appreciate help to resolve this and don’t really understand self assessment so want to make sure you understand what they are saying properly.

I find being really clear about what I understand, and what I don’t understand is helpful when contacting them! I think you need to have a clearer idea of where you stand in order to help you write an appeal letter. Saying ‘I didn’t know I had to file’ often doesn’t count for a reasonable excuse with Hmrc... but, you may have other grounds to appeal. Plus it’s worth following this up to get it resolved once and for all!

reetgood Thu 23-Nov-17 12:10:06

Ha whoops just missed that from @tug. It’s sounding more likely to me that you were put in self assessment in 2014 due to them thinking you hadn’t paid enough tax because of maternity leave, then never effectively notified them you didn’t need to file. You need to clarify this with Hmrc. Bad news, you might not have grounds to appeal the late filing fines. Good news, you can make sure that you do everything that’s needed to apply to properly stop self assessment.

Jennywallpaper Thu 23-Nov-17 12:15:41

Thank you all. @reetgood my issue is that when I contacted them last year and filed what I understood to be a self assessment form, paid the tax overdue and the fees from that year the woman on the phone told me i didn't have to pay the fees from the following years, which they are now asking for. I phoned them again on Monday after receiving the letter asking for this money and was told I had to send in an appeal letter. I really need to phone them again... thank everyone for trying to help! flowersflowers

reetgood Thu 23-Nov-17 12:22:58

Good luck. make notes of the questions you have beforehand, and take notes while you’re on the call! And I’ll say it again, be clear that you’re confused, would appreciate help. If you get someone unhelpful just end call and call back!

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