The Kafkaesque world of HMRC. You couldn't make it up content.

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  • The Kafkaesque world of HMRC. You couldn't make it up content.
  • Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    I feel like I’ve just wandered inadvertently into Terry Gillian’s Brazil

    Last week I received a letter from a debt collection agency, on behalf of HMRC, saying I owe them 400 quid. With no more information than that. And threatening me with legal action, bailiffs etc. now as far as I’m aware I don’t owe anything to HMRC, and have had no communication from them prior to this letter from the debt collection agency

    So I phone the debt collectors and ask, not unreasonably, what on earth this debt is?

    “I’m afraid HMRC will not let me divulge that information sir”

    Well could you give me clue? A timeframe perhaps? What period is it for?

    “HMRC will not let me divulge that information sir”

    Well is it for VAT? PAYE? What?

    “HMRC will not let me divulge that information either sir”

    Are you allowed to give me any information about this alleged debt at all?

    “I’m afraid not sir. HMRC will not allow me to divulge any information regarding the debt”

    Have you got any contact details of someone I could talk to at HMRC about it then?

    “I do sir, but HMRC won’t let me give them to you. You could look on the internet”

    “Would you like to make a payment for the outstanding balance sir?”

    Well… no. Because I don’t know what it is I’m meant to be paying

    “So you’d like to legally dispute the outstanding balance sir?”

    Well that’s going to be quite difficult, seeing as I have absolutely no idea what I’d be legally disputing!

    AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!

    Anyone else had any experience of this kind of nonsense? I’m loath to waste days of my life on the phone to HMRC, speaking to a procession of clueless ****-tards who’d have difficulty finding their own arse, using both hands! Any advice would be good. Or share your similar stories of tax-based woe

    b r
    Member

    Call HMRC direct, large chance that they’ve got nothing to do with HMRC.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    My advice:

    do everything in writing and deal directly with HMRC re: what it’s all about.

    for now write to debt collectors explaining you have no intention of paying a bill for which they are unable to provide supporting evidence, that you are taking it up with HMRC directly to resolve and that until evidence of what is being requested and why is provided by hmrc that you will treat any further approaches by the debt collectors as harassment.

    Premier Icon Lifer
    Subscriber

    What’s the agency called?

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    Was it a premium phoneline?

    edlong
    Member

    Sounds like a scam. Anyone legitimately trying to collect a debt, either of their own or on behalf of someone else, would be able to give you information about what it is for.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    The agency is called Advantis, and he also informed me that a legal action has been put in motion against me which now can’t be stopped, so I have to pay the bill, then try and claim it back from HMRC if I believe it to be wrong. Despite not having any information regarding what it’s for!

    nealglover
    Member

    Advantis Credit Ltd
    Apex Credit Management Ltd
    Bluestone Credit Management Ltd (formerly named Close Credit Management Ltd)
    Commercial Collection Services Ltd
    Commercial Credit Services Group
    Credit Solutions Ltd
    Direct Legal and Collections
    drydensfairfax solicitors
    Equita Ltd
    Fredrickson International Ltd
    akinika Debt Recovery Ltd (formerly known as iQor Recovery Services Ltd)
    Rossendales Ltd

    These are the Agencies that HMRC use.

    If it’s not one of those.

    Tell them to do one.

    (Edit- crossed posts – seems legit then ?)

    Premier Icon 40mpg
    Subscriber

    I’ve just been TUPE’d (employment transferred) to another company.

    I (and all other employees) had a revised coding notice yesterday.

    I now have zero tax allowance, my estimated earnings for the year are exactly twice what they were, and they want payment for additional tax of £3,100.

    Doesn’t take rocket science to work out that one hand is adding the new employment while the other is failing to register a stop to the old (yes they’ve had a P45 for that). 🙄

    However, a call to HMRC and a lovely chat with first their creepy voice recognition auto system and then a real person (and only ten minutes on hold) has got it sorted (apparently – I’ll reserve judgement on that until 5 April 2014 at least).

    OP – do give them a call and hopefully all will become clear

    winston_dog
    Member

    The agency is called Advantis, and he also informed me that a legal action has been put in motion against me which now can’t be stopped,

    That must be complete bollocks? Why can’t it be stopped?

    ninfan
    Member

    Debt collection agency?

    File it in the bin!

    a legal action has been put in motion against me which now can’t be stopped

    Then sit back and await court papers which won’t arrive

    cbmotorsport
    Member

    Deal only with HMRC. Don’t open the door to anyone. 😯

    Swelper
    Member

    They could be fishing. I had a debt collection agency on my tail a few yrs back. I short shifted them pretty quickly. Bottom line is if there is an outstanding debt the agency gets the phone book out and hits anyone / everyone with the same name. Linky below of the HMRC authorised debt collectors, if they aint on the list don’t worry about it. Sounds like a fishing / scam to me

    HMRC Debt Collectors

    edlong
    Member

    Increasingly stinky…

    Premier Icon Lifer
    Subscriber

    ninfan – Member
    Debt collection agency?

    File it in the bin!

    Certainly not the best idea.

    ninfan
    Member

    Lifer – Bailiff, yes, jump all over it, letter from HMRC, yes, jump all over it. court papers, yes, jump all over it.

    debt collection agency – its nothing more than a letter asking for money.

    Premier Icon zbonty
    Subscriber

    I tried phoning them yesterday but lost the will to live twice over before speaking to anyone and gave up.

    warton
    Member

    binners,

    I work for a company that works very closely with HMRC. I would say, almost definitely that this is a scam.

    have you had contact with HMRC about this debt in the past?

    konabunny
    Member

    “So you’d like to legally dispute the outstanding balance sir?”

    Yes, that’s right. Cheerio!

    You would normally have some sort of contact with HMRC before it goes to a debt collection agency.

    Not much use with a letter, but this is their advice if someone turns up on your doorstep:

    However, when faced with an unknown caller on the doorstep, our customers may still be concerned. To provide a safeguard against bogus callers in these situations, HMRC has introduced a new Field Force Verification Helpline, so that a customer can easily check whether or not a caller on their doorstep claiming to be from HMRC is, in fact, genuine.

    To access the helpline, customers should follow these simple steps:
    • Ask to see the Collector’s photo ID
    • Make a note of the ID number on the photo ID
    • call 0300 200 3862
    • Provide HMRC with the ID number you’ve noted

    Our operators will then be able to confirm to you whether or not your caller is genuinely an HMRC Collector.

    Premier Icon stever
    Subscriber

    I had a tax demand for £582 last week. I called to query it and the nice man cheerfully explained ‘Oh, we didn’t have a figure for ABC so we take a guess and wait for people to challenge it.’ Today I received a cheque for £79. Funny old system.

    the hustler
    Member

    I once got a demand for the vat rebate we were owed, serously i kid you not!!

    johndoh
    Member

    I got fed up with the time and effort it had taken me (which meant time away from working on my business) trying to challenge a £1300 debt they claimed I owed (a default that I accept I made but with very strong mitigating circumstances). So, after twice challenging them and trying to get a hearing a further two times (each time they lost all the paperwork, despite the second lot being sent electronically and was receipted) that I eventually just paid it to get them off my back and stop the sleepless nights when getting threatening letters from them about debt collection agencies etc.

    Premier Icon kcal
    Subscriber

    I got a call from Tax Credits folk last month. Number withheld. They asked me for my details so they could confirm I was the right person. I in turn asked them for say my NI number so I could confirm they were kosher. As above, they cheerfully said that was one of the questions /they/ would ask /me/ ::)

    Ended up in a well meaning stand-off, I took the guys name and called the phone number on latest letter..

    crankboy
    Member

    a legal action could be pretty meaningless but a court action should include a letter before action setting out in some detail how and why you owe the cash followed by a statement of claim setting out the same. Also if you dispute the debt the debt collection agency have no power to take it further it is for HMRC to pursue it .

    I would write to them stating that you dispute the debt and do not accept owing any money to HMRC and asking them to provide full details of the alleged claim.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    stever – Member

    I had a tax demand for £582 last week. I called to query it and the nice man cheerfully explained ‘Oh, we didn’t have a figure for ABC so we take a guess and wait for people to challenge it.

    I got “You owe us a bag of money” “Oh OK, why? I’m paye so I shouldn’t do and the numbers seem to add up” “It’s for your jobseeker’s allowance” “Chief, I paid you a sack of tax from my actual job last year, as you know, so how could I have jobseekers’ allowance?” “Yeah, that’s weird. Tell you what, send us the P60 from your jobseekers’ allowance…” “The jobseekers allowance I don’t get? You don’t get a P60 for imaginary income”.

    So it turns out there’s no onus on them to prove income, it’s up to me to disprove it, using documentation that doesn’t exist.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    This thread needs some input from 1984ishere

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Shambles really. It could be a scam but perhaps not.

    I suspect the debt collection agency has been passed a name and address and is trying to track the person down but being very lazy about it. They’ve found your name / address somewhere (electoral register) and have written to you.

    I would write to them saying you have had no correspondence from hmrc and all your tax is up to date. The demand made is in error. Also note that they have failed to provide any details or evidence as to what this debt is for.

    Even if they do continue the legal process just keep writing back and If necessary go along to court. This will be thrown out.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Cheers for the advice all! Looks like I need to fire a couple of letters off this afternoon. I certainly don’t owe them £400. But I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with HMRC in the past and they must surely be the most incompetent organisation in the country! It’s no wonder the corporates run rings round them!

    b r
    Member

    But I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with HMRC in the past and they must surely be the most incompetent organisation in the country!

    Not really, but they’re told what to do by the Govt, so… – and if it’s anything like I’m picking up at the moment (in the NHS); new policy often contradicts previous policy, plus often new policies have to be enacted before the systems are ready etc etc.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    “So you’d like to legally dispute the outstanding balance sir?”

    Cheey feckers. That’s their way of getting you involved in protracted nonsense as a tactic to make you back down.

    Tell ’em to Foxtrot Oscar.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    binners – Member

    they must surely be the most incompetent organisation in the country!

    You, sir, have never dealt with the Student Loans Company.

    johndoh
    Member

    You, sir, have never dealt with the Student Loans Company.

    S’alright, they’re selling all the debt off to private companies aren’t they?….

    lilchris
    Member

    they must surely be the most incompetent organisation in the country!

    You, sir, have never dealt with the Student Loans Company.I deal with HMRC often enough, and they’re made to look like professionals when compared to the DVLA, that’s for sure!

    wrecker
    Member

    I’m anti privatisation, but DVLA and HRMC are two organisations I would LOVE to see privatised. They are so shockingly bad it’s just not funny,

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    On the upside, if this IS a scam, you could have a lot of fun with it…

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    I don ‘t think it is Wopster. It’s for real. The guy on the phone did admit that it was absolutely absurd that he couldn’t give me any information, despite having it in front of him. But they are the guidelines they have from HMRC. Madness I tell thee!

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Aye, that sounds like HMRC and the muppets they employ.
    I had HMRC after me for 34p via a credit agency for one year – despite the previous year them over charging me £3.4k on tax.
    As said, do it in writing so that it is recorded (I tried phone, and you just go round in circles).
    Write to agency and say you are dealing with HMRC direct.
    Write to HMRC and ask for a statement of any outstanding tax.
    Be prepared for a few months/years hassle…

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Matt – I used to have my own business so have had the dubious pleasure, over a number of years, of dealing with the monkeys that HMRC employ. I’ll say one thing for them. They’re consistent. Consistently useless! Guaranteed to bugger up your tax every quarter. And after days wasted on the phone trying to sort it out, inevitably wrong!

    But even by their usual Laurel and Hardy-esque standards, today has been quite surreal

    zokes
    Member

    Yep, DVLA and SLC most definitely outrank HMRC in terms of incompetence.

    And Scottish Power

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