Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Unintended consequences

One of my clients called me in a panic. She had received a "threatening notice" from HMRC saying that she would be fined £100 for not sending in her Tax Return. Actually, I submitted her return for 2014-15 on 11th May 2015.

Hers is always one of the first I do each year. Why? Because she is ninety-five years old and does not like anything hanging over her.

Obviously I was very puzzled about the threatening letter. It turns out this was her Notice to File a return. Normally one would expect these to be posted in April, but due to the HMRC contract with Royal Mail they are still trickling through; hence my client's was received on 1st July.

Not everyone can immediately understand that some letters from Officialdom are due to inefficiency and incompetence, and therefore some people take these letters seriously, especially vulnerable people.

Surely we can hope that next year all Notices to File are sent out in April and that taxpayers receiving them will not feel threatened? My ninety-five year-old was in a tail-spin and could scarcely catch her breath. Government contracts with Royal Mail should not cause such distress.
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