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Have your say: tax codes

HMRC paper work

Dealing with HM Revenue and Custom is proving very taxing of late.

HMRC has issued a warning about mistakes in the tax codes currently being issued to taxpayers.

Coding notices tell taxpayers how large their personal tax allowance will be in the coming tax year, and how much tax their employers should deduct.

Earlier this week the Chartered Institute of Taxation warned that many faulty or duplicate notices were being sent out. It said taxpayers could be asked to pay up to £108 a month too much.

Now HMRC has acknowledged that there is a problem.

And then there's the phones...

HMRC failed to answer about 44 million phone calls last year, according to Whitehall's spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office called the performance of 31 customer "contact centres" during 2008/09 "unacceptable".

Have you been sent the wrong tax code?

Has it been resolved?

Are you having problems contacting the HMRC?

Tell us your experiences.


I have received 2 notices of coding. In the past I have tried to contact HMRC by phone with very little success, so this time I will write a letter. I am outraged that the responsibility to sort out this mess is being put onto the wronged taxpayer. HMRC have caused the problem, they should be the ones to sort it out.

Gillian, Nottingham

Part of the problem every year in contacting HMRC is their timing - code numbers are issued at the height of the self assessment query time for people trying to meet deadlines.

Codes are also being issued with excessive income estimates so that codes can be very simple - I have seen examples in my clients for pensioners and highly paid. These categories lose allowances if their income is over a certain limit.

Marion, Grantham

I have received 12 different tax code notices since May 2009 and 3 in December and 2 on Jan 11th. Each one has a different code and different allowances. I have lost count how many times I have phoned them and even sent them a recorded delivery letter to which I have had no reply. I retired in May 2009 and HMRC were notified but they are still sending notices to my ex-employer. What can I do to end this fiasco?

HMRC is a shambles.

Robert, Sheerness, Kent

Both my wife and I have been affected by the Revenues attempts to unify their tax. My wife is being taxed as if she has two jobs for the past year and then to top it all this month they have taken an additional lump sum of £800 from her salary for no apparent reason, and I have bee given a zero tax rating for a job I have been out of for over a year again for no apparent reason as I have been paying my PAYE and earn no where near the higher limits.

Derek, Horley

I am in a bit of debt and trying desperately to get out of it. i am with the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (who are marvellous) and they noticed that my tax code has been wrong since last April.

I have been making every penny count and it's been really difficult and horribly stressful - having the wrong tax code is a serious business.

On the up side I managed to speak to the Inland Revenue on my first call - the person at the other end of the line was charming, patient and sympathetic - they are now repaying me a decent sum. hooray!

Dan, London

The cause of the problems over tax codes is the fact that HMRC have axed 17,000 jobs since 2004 with a further 8,000 to go by 2011 - 130 further tax offices are to close following an announcement by HMRC in January and this will involve a further 1700 job losses this year.

Staff working in the Revenue side of revenue and customs have been warning for years of the likely effect of cutting 25,000 jobs on the efficiency of the Department and the service it provides to the public.

Cathy, London

I have taken early retirement. This week I received a tax code of D0 applied to a small (i.e. £ 270 per month) Public Services pension which I draw. Next day I received a code of 675 i.e. all my allowance, applied to a SIPP which I am not planning to draw down for another two years.

At least the East Kilbride tax centre has the courtesy to ask you to phone back after the end of January because they are very busy. What a shambles and an utter waste of taxpayers money!!!

John, Glasgow

On 20 January I received a code "BR". This meant I would pay 20% on all of my sole source of income, which is a small private pension. It took me 20 minites on the phone to get through to an operator, after a few minutes of detailed questions she told me the coding had been sent in error and the original single persons allowance would be restored. I'm still waiting for the new coding notice.

Paul, Stourbridge

The underlying problem is over-complexity. If it were a legal requirement in the UK that all law, all tax, all accountancy, all financial products had to be constructed and set out in such a way that the average 12-year old can understand, it would be much harder for "super-intelligent" mathematicians employed by bankers to repackage fraud, or for private sector accountants to require the public sector to train and employ such large numbers of tax inspectors.

It would simplify accounts from the smallest household or voluntary group right up to massive corporations so releasing thousands of hours of productive creative capacity. It would of course put out of work a few very affluent accountants and lawyers (not to mention some journalists and commentators) but their abilities enable them to look after themselves.

Frances, Gwynedd

Very like one of the people featured on this lunchtime's programme, I have had identical notices from two Tax offices - for my two small occupational pensions - telling me I am going on to 40% tax.

Unlike the feature, I didn't even get the classical music when I called every day last week. After following the right menu options I get a message saying they are very busy, look at the website, and goodbye! After which the line goes dead. Really endears me to the Tax authorities! How I am I to help them correct *their* error?

Dennis, Norwich

I received 2 Tax Codes rated at D0, stating that all my income would be taxed at 40%! I am retired and my income is well within the basic tax bracket. Tried twice to contact the tax office. What really annoys me is that it is an 0845 number which costs me to call them especially when you are waiting and waiting within inane messages about looking at the website! If there is an identified problem there should at least be an 0800 number. The tax official I spoke to was understanding and fine.

Phil, Stockport

My own tax code is OK, but I run a small business and most of my employees have got the wrong tax code. I pay for most of my staff to belong to relevant professional associations, which are wholly, necessarily, and exclusively for the performance of their jobs. Although this is made quite clear on their P11Ds, HMRC seem to have decided this year that they are taxable perks and have amended tax codes accordingly.

Adam, London

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The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

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