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

Tax Health Plan (THP)

The HM Revenue & Customs is offering a disclosure opportunity for medical professionals known as Tax Health Plan (THP).
Under the plan, medical professionals have until 31 March 2010 to notify the HMRC that they will be making a disclosure of any undeclared tax bills.
After which the full disclosure and payment of all outstanding taxes and duties, interest and penalties must be made by 30 June 2010.
Under the Tax Health Plan, the HMRC are offering a reduced penalty rate of 10% but no penalty where the total of unpaid tax is less £1000.
After 31 March 2010, the HMRC have stated that they will be undertaking a data matching exercise using information from payments from NHS trusts, private hospitals and medical insurers.
If the choice is made not to disclose and HMRC discover any undeclared tax bills, they will seek to apply penalties of 30% to 100% of the unpaid tax bill.
If you wish to take advantage of the THP, Taxfile‘s tax agents may be able to assist you in entering the THP and preparing your disclosure. Pop in to see us or call us on 020 8761 8000 to book an appointment.

What is equitable liability?

Information about equitable liability was published in the Revenue’s Tax Bulletin in August 1995.
Most people keep their tax affairs up to date and pay their tax in time time. However, where a taxpayer has not submitted his or her return, HM Revenue & Customs can determine the taxpayer’s likely tax liability so that the tax can be pursued. There is no right of appeal against such determinations, and the tax determined is legally enforceable. Taxpayers can displace the determination with their own self assessment at any time up to the fifth anniversary of the filing date for the year of assessment in question (or one year after the determination was issued, if later).
If a taxpayer receives an assessment and does not think it is right, he or she can appeal against it and has thirty days from the date on which the notice of assessment was issued to do so. Inspectors will accept appeals once that time limit has passed if they are satisfied that there was a reasonable excuse for not making the appeal within the time limit and the application to admit the appeal late was made without unreasonable delay thereafter. If the Inspector does not think these requirements have been met, the application must be referred to the Appeal Commissioners for a decision. The Appeal Commissioners are completely independent of the Inland Revenue and their decision on this matter is final.
Otherwise, an assessment is final and conclusive and the Inland Revenue is able to take recovery proceedings — through to bankruptcy if necessary — for the full amount. There is no legal right to adjustment of the liability.
However, where the taxpayer has exhausted all other possible remedies, the Inland Revenue may, depending on the circumstances of the particular case, be prepared not to pursue its legal right to recovery for the full amount where it would be unconscionable to insist on collecting the full amount of tax assessed and legally due.
This practice is known as ‘equitable liability’. The term ‘equitable liability’ reflects the original principle of fairness to other creditors.
The Inland Revenue may be prepared to consider applying ‘equitable liability’ where it is clearly demonstrated that:
• the liability assessed is greater than the amount which would have been charged had the returns, and necessary supporting documentation, been submitted at the proper time.
• acceptable evidence is provided of what the correct liability should have been.
In such cases the Inland Revenue may be prepared to accept a reduced sum based on the evidence provided, and not to pursue its right of recovery for the full amount.
The Inland Revenue would expect full payment to be made of the reduced sum. Furthermore, it would be most unusual for such treatment to be applied more than once in favour of the same taxpayer.
In determining the revised liability, the Inland Revenue will have regard to all the relevant circumstances of the case. Acceptable evidence of the reduced liability must be produced. It will not be sufficient to seek to replace the assessment merely with the taxpayer’s or the accountant‘s estimate of the liability.
In order to make a claim for equitable liability you need a tax accountant like Taxfile in South London to help you explain your circumstances and make sure the concept of equitable liability is applied and your tax affairs are dealt with in an equal and fair way.