Taxman sends 2,000 demands to firms that don’t owe a penny after another computer failure
- Many were wrongly told they would be fined £100
- Mistake occurred because HMRC had not updated its own computers
- Blunder triggers fresh concerns about proposed new powers the taxman is set to get from next year
Thousands of innocent businesses have been sent threats of fines after the taxman wrongly accused them of failing to file their accounts on time.
In this latest gaffe, HM Revenue & Customs accused the firms – many of which had recently changed trading names – of not handing over vital information about staff benefits and workplace perks. As a result, many were told they would be fined £100.
But in a humbling U-turn, the Revenue had to admit the penalty warnings had been posted in error and that the mistake had occurred because it had not updated its own computers.
It has triggered fresh concerns about proposed new powers the taxman is set to get from next year when it will be able to plunder the bank accounts of all those it says owe income tax.
Kate Upcraft, chairman of a consumer tax taskforce that helps advise firms on managing their payrolls, says: ‘We are seeing an increasing number of mistakes like this from HMRC – and there are significant issues with a lot of the information they have.
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