Expensive swings and roundabouts

Here’s a note I received from a supporter as to their dealings with HMRC recently:


“I act as a paying agent for three businessmen people with a total of 5 staff between them. Not earth-shattering numbers.

Because the tax/national insurance payments are less than £1500 per month, I take advantage of the option to pay only every 3 months.

The end of period payment for Months 1, 2 & 3 in 2008/09 was due on the 5th July - with a deadline for the payment to be in HMRC's bank by the 19th July.

Payment of the due amount was made to the nearest Post Office on the 9th July (it's not that convenient and more effort than doing it electronically - but I do it in the hope that a few hundred quid going through its books every three months might help save it from the chop!)

The cheque showed up in my bank statement on the 11th July.

Yesterday, 8th August, I got a Payment Reminder from HMRC (dated 29th July! - do they use a mule train for mail from Cumbernauld?) telling me I was late with the payment.

I phoned straightaway. The phone number printed on the reminder was met with a recorded message saying "This number is no longer in use. Call XXXX XXXXXX"

The gist of the response was - "There was probably a backlog in the dept that sees that the money is in the bank. I can see that you have paid it. Just ignore it.

What a waste of friggin’ time and money, both for me and HMRC. And if this is repeated on a wide scale how much of tax-payers cash is HMRC unnecessarily wasting?”


Perhaps I’m being too cynical, but isn’t this tactic used by HMRC merely a ploy to get people to pay twice?


If you’ve got any stories about HMRC giving you the run-around, join us for free here and email us your stories, which we will use anonymously as always.

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