Dear HMRC...Why We Need To Talk



Why we need to talk to you…..

As an unrepresented taxpayer with apparently very simple tax affairs, I find myself needing to call you. I really don’t want to. I have better things to do, but I like to know I’m not going to upset you.

Over the last few years, I’ve needed to talk to you about:

Incorrect PAYE code – In common with the mightiest Finance Directors, I don’t like surprises. If this code is wrong and you send me a demand after the end of the tax year, it’s a worry. I don’t have spare resources to conjure up extra cash.

No matter how hard I try, I don’t understand my code. If you change it, I won’t know why and I need to ask you. I need someone to say it’s OK, no need to worry.

High Income Child Benefit Charge – A couple of times, I’ve earnt over £50,000, and you came back to me a few years later and asked me to repay some child benefit. This is a confusing rule. You saw my income, but child benefit continued to be paid. You told me this is on the website for me to see clearly.

Sorry, but I don’t hang out on HMRC’s website just in case something applies to me. You know the jargon because you see and hear it every day. I don’t, so occasionally I need a human to explain things to me.

Pensions – Full Tax Relief – When I earn over £50,270 (different to the £50,000 for child benefit) I’m told I can claim an additional 20% income tax on some of the gross pension payment made to my employer’s pension scheme. I have only the vaguest idea what this means and suspect there are a lot of us missing out on full tax relief.

I’d quite like you to explain this to me. HMRC’s site assumes a certain level of starter knowledge eg what ‘relief at source’ means.

Self Employed Class 2 NICs – My side hustle self employed income is sometimes very low and you refunded me the Class 2 NICs I’d asked to pay voluntarily. On enquiry a person explained that voluntary contributions aren’t accepted unless a certain form has been completed.

For years, I’ve reported a small self employed business on the side. This isn’t enough to earn me a state pension credit should I ever need to pay Class 2 NICs voluntarily. How confusing is that? I couldn’t have worked this out on my own.

Self Employed Tax Payments Due – In my busier years, no matter how hard I try I don’t understand any statement I see. I pay the figure at the bottom and hope for the best. You tell me the payment on account system is explained online.

You’re the only organisation I deal with that has a twice a year payment system with half of it in advance and the other half after the end of a period. Unless someone takes me through how that works, I’m not going to understand it.

It seems the people sitting in rooms talking familiar language make rules that suit their ends. The rest of us get on board as best we can.

Or are you saying we now all need to pay an accountant?

Yours confused

Unrepresented Customer (who can't choose another 'supplier')

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