A Taxing Time for the HMRC

Posted on February 9, 2021

I got a letter from the tax office back in September. It said I hadn’t paid my monthly PAYE and CIS deductions for August. I sent them a copy of my bank statement (they won’t accept emails) proving I had paid it and forgot about it, thinking it was an oversight they would put right.

In December, I got a further letter saying I still hadn’t paid it and the debt was accruing interest. I tried calling them but, because of Covid, amongst other things, they wouldn’t pick up the phone. So, I sent them another letter. However, as well as not using email or picking up the phone, the HMRC don’t seem to open letters either.

Another Letter

They write them though. They sent me another letter saying I hadn’t paid it. This time, someone picked up the phone when I rang. It was an experience akin to having teeth pulled out but, in the end, we appeared to get things sorted, and the letters stopped. She told me that to ensure monthly tax payments went to the right HMRC account, I should put the tax month after my tax reference number. My next payment was tax month nine.

This seemed a bit odd, as for around twenty years, the tax reference was good enough. The tax reference and the correct amount, coming from my business account into the HMRC (AO Shipley) account, is surely easy enough to find and allocate? Anyway, I did as I was told and put 09 next to my reference number.

Sure enough, I went online to discover that the HMRC were alleging I hadn’t paid tax month nine and interest was racking up daily. Once again, I wasted an afternoon trying to get through on the phone and eventually, I did. She was a pleasant lady, but she filled me with all the confidence of Boris Johnson wired up to a lie detection machine.

More Confusion

As I expected, it all got more confusing than it should have, and she asked if she could ring me back. To my amazement, she did ring back, and she had found my money. It had been allocated to my 2009 account. I asked how it got into an account from 12 years ago. She said it was because I had put 09 next to the reference number. I took a revolver from my drawer, placed it in my mouth, and blew my brains out.

I didn’t of course, but I felt like it. Anyway, now that month nine had been reallocated to, well…month nine, it seemed all was now back in balance. However, it turns out that despite it clearly going into the HMRC account in August, this payment was still missing and pending an investigation. What is there to investigate? I can’t answer that question.

I have told you this story because I am informed that the HMRC are (rightly, in my opinion) going to go after people who have made false furlough claims as well as grants and government secured loans. This allegedly amounts to billions of pounds and will be an industrial scale operation like never seen before.

My question is this. If they somehow managed to lose or wrongly allocate a few grand of my monthly PAYE & CIS, how on earth are they going to run an operation like that?

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