An HMRC official told an MP that the department was in ‘complete chaos’ when
he rang to enquire about a late filing penalty.
East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton related the exchange at Treasury
Questions this week.
‘Yesterday I had cause to ring the late-filing penalty helpline of the Inland
Revenue, having filed my tax return and had the cheque cashed on 30 January. The
very helpful lady I spoke with said that she could not help me because the
address she had for me was 12 years out of date, and for my wife 17 years out of
date, despite our filing tax returns every year.
‘She ended up by saying: “As you are an MP, perhaps you will take away from
this call the complete chaos we are in.”
Loughton asked financial secretary to the Treasury Jane Kennedy: ‘Do you
share that view and, if you do, why are so many of your colleagues getting paid
Kennedy replied: ‘I am sorry to hear your report of you experience with the
self-assessment process. I shall take it away and investigate, but I point out
that, despite the problems on the day, HMRC dealt with a very large number of
cases. As you know, people always leave it until the last minute, and HMRC
experiences a huge surge in the number of self-assessments. All I can say is
that I will investigate your case and look into exactly what reports you have
made to HMRC in recent years.’
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