Reports have emerged of Tax Inspectors trying to wrongly fine nearly 1 million people for late tax payments. The inspectors claimed nearly one million tax returns failed to be filed, which was in fact totally wrong information. The exact number of people affected stands at 963, 000, who were all wrongfully registered for self-assessment. They have since been removed but not before they were fined hundreds of pounds each. Self Assessment returns are to be filed if an individual is self-employed or owns a company. If self-assessment returns are not filed, then the company or individual is usually fined as a consequence. The people who were wrongly fined by HMRC had been down as registering self-assessment which was of course, wrong information. When they didn’t complete their tax returns, they were fined, even though they didn’t need to in the first place. HMRC has assured that they have since been taken off the system altogether – but why was this happening?
The incident did not happen on a small scale (one in eleven taxpayers were affected) and because of this, the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee have said that they will consider launching an investigation to get to the bottom of why the incident occurred in the first place and look into the HMRC inspectors that were at fault. Another recent instance which demonstrates the failings of HMRC was serious IT glitches which led to HMRC now having to offer out compensation. The IT glitches meant that applications for the Childcare Service could not be completed by concerned parents and they did not have access to Government funded childcare schemes. Issues with applying to the new Childcare Service have been ongoing since it first launched in April. In order to receive Government help, parents are required to fill out a form online and have to wait for a decision. However, due to complications, this was not always possible and parents that have experienced issues whilst doing this could now be eligible for a one off payment. The payment will be made if they could not get onto the system at all or if they had to wait longer than twenty days to receive a decision regarding their application.
If you have been affected and think you might be eligible for compensation then the best thing to do is to send your details including full name and address, bank details and National Insurance number to HMRC. It would also help if you provided a brief description of the issues you faced whilst trying to apply. The schemes parents have been keen to apply for are both new and center around tax-free childcare and 30 hours per week of free childcare which is available for all three and four-year-olds. The free childcare option is available to those that are in work or to those that are earning at least the minimum wage but those wanting to apply recently will have seen a ‘We are experiencing technical issues’ message on the HMRC website after filling out their applications.
Answers regarding such technical issues have been demanded from HMRC, including clarification of how long the website has been out of service, the number of people who have been unable to access their childcare accounts as a result, the number of complaints they have received, and the nature of them. HMRC have since apologised to everyone that experienced online issues and claim to have now improved its service. They claim that on average almost 2000 parents are successfully applying for the schemes every day. Let’s hope the site continues to stay active.