Well over half of complaints by UK taxpayers to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in 2010-11 (latest available year) resulted in HMRC admitting to mistakes, according to Pinsent Masons, the international law firm.
Complaints received by HMRC’s internal complaints system hit 58,110 in 2010-11 (year end 31 March). Of complaints decided in that year, HMRC itself upheld the complaint in 33,284 cases – 57% of total cases*.
George Gillham, Legal Director at Pinsent Masons, says: “The number of cases where HMRC has admitted it got something wrong is remarkable. It suggests that if you make a complaint to HMRC, they’ll probably decide you’re right, at least in part.”
“Taxpayers don’t always use the opportunities they have to challenge HMRC. The tribunal process is open to those who want to dispute the amount of tax they owe to HMRC, but it’s important that people remember they can complain directly to HMRC if they feel unfairly treated or if they feel HMRC errors have forced them to incur financial costs.”
“Many complaints result in HMRC writing a tax liability off or offering compensation – and quite a lot of money can be at stake.”
Pinsent Masons says that complaints are made by individuals or small businesses and are likely to be about unreasonable delays, mistakes, and poor treatment by HMRC staff. In some cases, mistakes or delays by HMRC will have led to an unexpected tax charge that may be written off after a complaint. Other disputes about tax due to HMRC are handled by the tribunal system.
Have you checked your tax calculation and payments? If you have any concerns that HMRC have made errors in relation to your tax position, get in touch.