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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10919
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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, in 2009 my companies recently appointed, highly qualified

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Hi, in 2009 my companies recently appointed, highly qualified (Dr of accounting & certified Forensic accountant) sent some incorrect returns into HMRC. Unknowingly, she had put on the forms that the company was liable to CIS tax that had already been paid by our client companies for who we were administering their CIS schemes. She realised her mistake a few days later and told me what she had done. the over-statement on the return was around a million pounds. She wrote a detailed letter to HMRC explaining what she had done wrong and giving details of the client companies and their respective CIS scheme numbers and contact details. She also resubmitted the forms with the correct amount on them. HMRC then told her they were going to pursue the company for the larger figure which they preferred, and pursue they did. They issued a winding up petition for the incorrect amount and took it to the steps of the court. All along the way they refused to communicate with the company or rather the department that was dealing with the collection refused, fobbing us and our accountants off on other departments. Claiming they had not received money that they had, etc etc etc. It was a nightmare. In the end, my, by then, new head of accounts, called on a partner at Deloittes and he got involved and they dropped the claim down to the actual amount that was shown on the corrected forms many months before. I/the company paid the debt and received confirmation from the Debt and Insolvency chap at HMRC that the Petition debt had been paid in full. The HMRC solicitor also wrote to confirm this. The following year (2011) a new woman in HMRC appeared on the scene and claimed that the interest on the petition debt had not been paid in full. My accountants sent her a copy of the HMRC and solicitor's letter confirming it had been paid but she brushed it aside, simply saying it was wrong and that interest of 57k was still outstanding from 2007 and 2009. This was the start of a new raft of incorrect claims from HMRC, again for a massively over-stated amount (1.197m) that appeared in November 2011 along with a 7-day threat to wind up the company and about a hundred thousand pounds of penalties. They again took to the steps of the court before finally acknowledging that the correct amount they were owed was circa 500k - which was then paid in March 2013. Not satisfied with that they are back trying for more interest and penalties for a company that has now been dormant since 2012 (I couldn't take it any more when they said in 2010 we should "Cut down our staff to pay their demands, just like British Airways had to" (you couldn't make it up. It would not be an exaggeration to say they drove me into the ground and were the main reason I wound down the company and left the UK in 2010. Have I got a claim against them?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
Yes, from your narrative I do think you have a claim, for your losses suffered as a result of their behaviour. Clearly there is a lot of detail that I don't have, but I do think it would be worthwhile instructing a good civil court lawyer to examine all the papers and make a claim. There has clearly been bullying tactics here and the HMRC would appear to have exceeded their powers by escalating a simple mistake into a court case which they did in fact not win.
I really hope you succeed with this as your description of the HMRC officers is disturbing to say the least.
Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10919
Experience: 30 years as a practising solicitor.
JGM and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello, thank you for your response. The bullying you refer to began in 2008 and is still going on. In 2008 my new accounts team made a series of voluntary disclosures about errors made by the previous accounts staff. HMRC carried out both CIS and VAT audits at our offices at that time. The VAT element meant that the company had under-claimed over 300k. The VAT officer responsible for our case audited everything and signed off 240k of the refund, but the CIS department refused to correct their over-claim and nearly drove us into the ground during that year. When my new head of accounts took over (the outgoing one couldn't cope with the pressure), HMRC promptly went back on much of what they had previously confimed. When my head of accounts tried to get hold of the balance of the VAT reclaim in 2009, she was told it was time barred however from what I can see, it was not time barred when the previous head of accounts had contacted HMRC and made the voluntary disclosures. This previous head of accounts also spent from May 2008 to October 2008 trying to get HMRC to explain where they had put payments that the company had made that they had mis-allocated. Including allocating a 5k payment to another company of mine that was dormant, despite the payment clearly coming from the other company and including the correct PAYE reference. They had mis-allocated a payment of 112k that she had written repeatedly to them about to establish what penalties and interest had been charged due to the mis-allocation, which she, quite correctly, wanted HMRC to repay. They have continued in this way ever since. Every time, there has been a demand it has been accompanied by a 7-day notice. Almost every request for clarification has been met with misdirection. As I mentioned in my previous note, the chap I ended up dealing with back in 2009/10 that finally (thanks to the intervention by Deloittes) corrected the overstated claim, corrected the interest and then finalised the amount in the Petition which I then paid, confirmed the amount was correct as did their solicitor. In 2011 a woman from his department with whom we had been corresponding regarding the matter, appeared on the scene claiming back interest from 2007 and 2009. My accountants sent her the letters that had been received upon payment at the time and she simply said that they had made a mistake and the 57k interest was to be paid or she would issue a 7 day notice. I am checking my records but I believe I paid it back in 2011 and then in November 2011 she issued a demand fo 1.197m with a similar threat of 7 day notice. The correct amount, which was eventually paid on the steps o the court in March 2013 was 501k!!! I say correct amount because heaven only knows what interest and penalties were incorrectly included. In 2010 I shuttered the company and left the UK because of ill health caused largely by the stress from HMRC. As soon as I left the UK they launched a COP9 investigation into me and my affairs. That was at the beginning of 2011. 4 years on and tens of thousands of pounds spent in accountancy fees and they have still not made any disclosure of what they thought I had done wrong. Yesterday I had a conversation with the woman who took over the COP9 last year (apparently, since I had not heard a word from anyone for over eight months), and she referred to the half million pound payment in 2013 saying it had not been allocated as my accountants had instructed! So two years on and not a word from HMRC to say how it was allocated, yet now conveniently they are chasing more interst and penalties on heaven knows what. As you can tell I am rather exhausted by it. I have had more experts involved than one can shake a stick at, but each one has only been trying to deal with the issue of the moment, i.e. either a particular over-claim, or a Winding Up Petition. No-one has ever looked back over the file to see the whole sorry saga, which I am now doing and can only surmise that it seems to have been a systematic effort to collect interest and penalties etc that they were not necessarily due.

Is this your speciality and if so, do you want to tell me the name of your firm so I can contact you?

Best

Martin

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
This is one of the things I specialise in but Just Answer lawyers aren't allowed to take on cases from the website. You should see a good civil lawyer of your own choice.

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