The Taxpayers Charter & how it can help you

The Taxpayers CharterMany ordinary working taxpayers do not even know it exists, but The Taxpayers Charter is there to make sure that HMRC give you a service that is even-handed, accurate and based on mutual trust and respect. HMRC also want to make it as easy as possible for you to get things right.

The Charter is there to protect you and, better still, it gives you certain rights. In return for 3 simple obligations on your part (honesty, respect for HMRC staff and diligence to get things right) HMRC promises to:

  1. Respect you.
    This includes treating you with courtesy and making you aware of your rights;
  2. Help and support you to get things right.
    This includes processing the information you supply as quickly and accurately as possible and also correcting any mistakes as quickly as they can;
  3. Treat you as honest.
    This includes only questioning what you tell them if they have good grounds to do so;
  4. Treat you even-handedly.
    This includes consideration of any financial difficulties which you may be having and explaining what you can do if you disagree with their decisions, or if you wish to make a complaint;
  5. Be professional and act with integrity.
    Critically, this includes a useful sub-clause to ‘make sure that you are dealt with by people who have the right level of expertise‘ and another to ‘let you know how appeals, investigations or complaints are progressing‘. Here at Taxfile we feel that these may be the most helpful clauses of all, judging by past history;
  6. Tackle people who deliberately break the rules and challenge those who bend the rules;
  7. Protect your information and respect your privacy.
    This includes a sub-clause to respect your legal rights when they visit premises;
  8. Accept that someone else can represent you;
    Hey – we would be happy to represent you!
  9. Do all we can to keep the cost of dealing with us as low as possible.
    For example if you, or your representative (see clause 8 above) feel that an HMRC officer is relentlessly dragging out a tax enquiry with perhaps unfair queries, creating unnecessary work, then Read more

It’s official: thousands are on the wrong tax code!

With the tax return deadline being only hours away (midnight 31 January 2014) there is still time to get professional help if you need it – particularly because HMRC  often get it wrong according to new research by UHY Hacker Young.

In just one example, HMRC sent a tax bill to a pensioner which demanded over £576k in tax! With an income of only £11k per annum this was clearly incorrect but what if it had been only hundreds of pounds wrong – would the pensioner have noticed and, if so, would he have been confident enough to question it with the might of HMRC?

According to the research, HMRC employees have been making ‘basic’ errors which have led to problems such as people being on the wrong tax code and consequently underpaying or overpaying tax. While underpaying it may sound attractive on the face of it, chances are the system will catch up and then a correction will need to be made later on, leaving the taxpayer with an unforeseen bill to pay – a real blow for cashflow.

While the UHY Hacker Young research cites an error rate in 2013 of 37% in the sample tested, HMRC are arguing that the research is wrong and that their PAYE coding notices are 99% accurate. Either way, when you consider that Read more

Dealing with someone’s tax after they die

When somebody dies it is important to sort out their tax and National Insurance contributions as soon as possible. The ‘personal representative’ or the executor has to sort out the deceased person’s tax affairs, as well as the rest of the estate.There may be either tax to pay or a rebate from the Tax Office.
If the deceased paid tax through Pay As You Earn (PAYE), their Tax Office will send the executor a form called R27 ‘Potential repayment to the estate’ to complete.
If the deceased person was self-employed paying tax through self-assessment, the administrator can choose to fill in form R27 in full – or only in part and then complete a Self Assessment tax return immediately or at the end of the tax year.
The deceased person will get their full tax-free personal allowance for the year of their death. They will also get a full year’s entitlement to any blind person’s or married couple’s allowance that was due to them for the full year.
If they did not receive enough income to use the whole of the blind person’s or married couple’s allowances, the personal representative can arrange for the unused allowances to be transferred to a surviving spouse or civil partner.
The personal representative may have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) if profit is made from selling the property or possessions of the deceased. The executor is treated as acquiring the house at its market value at the time of death so CGT can only be payable if a profit is made after disposal and if it exceeds the ‘annual exempt amount’ (AEA).
You might find it very useful to ask a tax accountant for advice. Taxfile in South London can give you the best solutions when having to sort out a deceased person tax affairs.

Taxman’s new power

Is the taxman going too far? This is the question we have to ask ourselves today. The taxman has been given the authority to bug people’s phones and read their emails and letters.

In order to reassure taxpayers, the Inland Revenue declared that these new powers will not be used in routine tax investigations. As noticed by Sunday Times ”one area where the new regulations could have an impact is against those who failed to come forward during HMRC’s partial amnesty for offshore account holders. […]HMRC offered a limited window of opportunity for taxpayers to disclose savings held in offshore accounts on which they had not paid tax.
About 45,000 people with bank accounts in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and Isle of Man coughed up £400m by the November 26 deadline, but this may be only a fraction of the total held offshore.
”(Ali Hussain, Sunday Times, February 17, 2008)
Although the tax office has assured people that the powers will only be used in the most serious of cases, some experts have expressed concerns.

Mike Warburton of tax partners Grant Thornton said: “Once the new powers are available it will be very difficult to stop the taxman using them.”(Ali Hussain, Sunday Times, February 17,2008)

To surprise you even more, senior tax officials are being rewarded for failure as they are given record bonuses totalling more than £23 million this year despite the department continuing to lose £1 billion to fraud and error. This also came just three months after the department admitted it had lost computer discs containing the tax credit details of 25 million people.

In its defence, HMRC said that these payments were based on last year performances and those for the current financial year had not been set.

Taxile‘s tax accountants in South London would like to know your opinion in these matters, so write your personal comments on our blog. Are you for or against the way the tax office handles their tax investigations? Do you think of it as an intrusion in people’s life or is it in our best interest on the long run? Share today your thoughts with us,your opinion matters!