The government has sent out 70 different kinds of ‘intervention’ letter,
detailing common mistakes in tax filings that individuals may have made.
The letters are intended to resolve problems without opening costly
enquiries, but have dismayed some, who have argued that HMRC should stick to
established legal procedures.
An example letter provided by HMRC suggests taxpayers look again at their
arrangements and re-file returns: ‘I am not suggesting that you have made errors
but I would like you to review your declarations made within the past 12 months
and let me have, by (insert date), details of how any such
(disposals/transactions) were dealt with together with: confirmation that your
declarations are correct; or a schedule of disposals/transactions) along with
your revised figure for (tax type), in order that I can recalculate your tax
Anne Redston, who has seen the letters, said that some directed taxpayers to
HMRC manuals, which due to their complexity would be unlikely to be
An HMRC spokesman said the trials of such letters were ‘small-scale’ and and
‘In order to improve the way we work, we are trialling new, simpler and less
time-consuming ways of helping our customers.’
Does Darwin's theory apply to taxation? Colin ponders...
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