21 March 2013 Ipswich LWT

Final Minutes
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Date of Meeting
21 March 2013
Group Name
Ipswich LWT
Chair: HMRC Lead
Graham Jones
Agent Lead
Barry Whiffin
Agent Representatives attending Robert Clubb
B W Whiffin & Co
CIOT
Robert Clubb and Co
ICPA
Christopher Brown (CB)
IFA
Helen Brookson (HB)
ATT
Roly Pipe (RP)
Roly Pipe & Partners
CIOT
Peter Finnigan (PF)
David Cox (DC)
Finnigans
Fenn Cox & Partners
ACCA
AIA
Chris Harman (CH)
Lambert Chapman
CIOT
Sue Davies (SD)
Avanti Tax Accountants ATT
Vivien Ware
HMRC attendees
Apologies
Graham Jones (GJ)
Incoming HMRC Lead
Helen Nock (HN)
Anthony Allgood (AA)
WT Co-ordinator
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Pam Rockall
1. Welcome & Introduction: GJ welcomed all to the meeting and round the table introductions were carried out.
2. Approval of Previous minutes: The previous minutes were approved with no amendments
3. Update on Action Points from the last meeting
AP1 Emails received confirming agreement of the minutes
AP2 GJ Provided the PO BOX address for compliance correspondence (circulated with final minutes)
AP3 HN advised that all processed returns can be viewed by HMRC staff
AP4 RTI Events have been provided as requested
AP5 Feedback on DMB issues have been shared with the JISD team
AP6 CH has still not received a reply to the email submitted via the HMRC website. HN to pursue
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AP7 Comments passed to email pilot team
AP8 This will be rolled out under the Agent Strategy, current process will remain
4. Update on Resolved and Unresolved issues raised by the group at previous meetings
The group currently have the following issues working with the NWTT
WT042 Debt Management – Work has started with reciprocal visits between agent reps and HMRC. Visits have
been made to HMRC and visits to Agent volunteers will start in February. HN will provide further updates as they
become available. This is being review under the Joint Initiative on Service Delivery (JISD)
WT050 P11d Expenses and S446 claims – New IT product is being developed to resolve this issue. There may be
an opportunity for agents to participate in some end user testing. This will be held in London. HN will forward
details when they are received.
WT117 Identification of PAYE (Employer Output) NWTT has contacted the RTI business readiness team for an
update.
WT146 Inaccurate SA Autocoding - Guidance on auto coding has been published on the HMRC website
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/news/sa-auto-coding.htm
5. Update on all National Issues resolved since last meeting
Details were provided prior to the meeting and there were no additional discussions required.
5. Key messages from HMRC
Alternative Dispute Resolution AA gave an informative presentation on the Alternative Dispute Resolution
process. He emphasized that collaboration runs throughout the process. The pilot is going to business as usual for
SME from August 2013. AA explained how mediation works and explained that the mediator will neutral throughout
the process and will not offer a solution but will try to get the parties talking together. The group discussed the
Large and Complex and SME pilots and the current results from them.
Copies of the slides will be sent with the minutes.
GJ Thanked AA for his input
Real Time Information. HN advised the attendees of the announcement recently published on the HMRC website
about a concession for small employers (with less than 50 employees) who pay weekly but run their payrolls
monthly. The concession allows them to file their FPS when the payroll is run until October 2013, after this date
they must file FPS when or before the payment is made.
6. New Issues (AOB) including points raised at agents pre meeting
1. There is general concern that suggestions made in WT groups are given little serious thought at senior levels
and seem to be dismissed with comments such as “inadequate resources” ”not needed” without any real
explanation. This problem would seem to apply whether input is from either agents or local HMRC staff.
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Response - A full review of all Working cases has recently been carried out by the National Working Together
Team details were circulated prior to the meeting
2. RTI. What provision is there for employers who are using the HMRC product but subsequently exceed the
maximum employees requiring a transfer to commercial software?
Response - A link to other free software is available on the HMRC website. If employers are unable to use Basic
PAYE Tools they will need to try an alternative commercial package. Under RTI all submissions have to be made
electronically.
3. If submission of RTI payroll input is rejected (for one employee) is it the case that HMRC believe wages should
not be paid and does not this create a breech of contract with employees and a position possibly causing
constructive dismissal in terms of employment law?
Response - Here is a link to the items that must be completed on a FPS.
The only mandatory data items for an employee areSurname/Family name
Full forename/given name
Date of Birth
Gender
DC felt there could still be legal implications if the FPS could not be submitted. AP1 HN to submit to RTI team for a
response
4. Could HMRC request an amendment to Regulation (34) to allow on-line amendment of VAT returns?
Response - This will need to be put through as a Working Together issues/suggestions template. AP2 HN to
complete suggestion template
5. It would seem that AAM does not have authority to insist on action being taken but can only request this. Can
this be changed to allow AAM authority to instruct and set deadlines for action/response? It is generally agreed that
we currently receive excellent service but feel that our AAM should have actual authority rather than to have to
continually request.
Response – HN has passed on this comment to the AAM Issue Resolution Strand Manager for consideration
6. Instances of security questions have arisen regarding returns submitted with information not related to the
taxpayer concerned. What information is actually needed to validate a return submission for acceptance?
Response - HN asked for some clarification. This relates to SA returns submitted online. There have been
instances where another customer’s information has been recorded under a client UTR which then causes
problems when an attempt is made to file the correct return. AP3 HN to investigate and feedback
7. Why are repayments other than, generally, those generated from SA100 submission taking so long to be made?
There is a feeling that restrictions are being made on total refunds to be made in any specified period.
Response - There are no restrictions in place regarding the total number of refunds to be made in any specific
period. Repayments a generally issued faster when an online return is submitted and this is one of the benefits of
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online filing. For other areas of HMRC’s business manual intervention is required and the volume of work on hand
will impact on the time taken to process a repayment.
8. Appeals need to be made by formal letter but when this is mentioned (e.g. a penalty charge) there is no
indication of the address to which this should be sent. Can this be rectified?
Response - Appeals should be sent to the address the appealable decision was sent from.
9. HMRC “business coordinators” and indirect information gathering. It has come to attention that a public agency
when placing contracts for services to corporate bodies is requiring, on pain of contract termination, that the service
provider provides evidence that the provider is dealing with their tax position “correctly” in that it demands to be
advised with evidence as how that service provider is considering the requirements of “IR35” and HMRC “business
entity” tests. Contractors have been told that if the agency is not satisfied that the contractor is “low risk” the
information provided will be sent to the HMRC business coordinator. It seems unlikely, given the agency has no tax
responsibility with regard to a corporate provider that being a matter between HMRC and the provider, that an
agency would decide to do this and the logic is that pressure is being brought to bear. Given that HMRC suggests
the function of coordinators is simply assisting employers/taxpayers to ensure they are handling matters correctly
does the situation not suggest that this function has been extended as a means of information gathering?
Response - As you have said in your question the Customer Coordinator role is defined as this
Customer Coordinators:
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are a named point of contact with oversight of the issues for that business
can direct the business towards appropriate specialists and published information
follow up issues within HMRC to ensure they are concluded within an agreed timeframe
maintain a single up to date overview of the customer, their issues and risks
contact their businesses when necessary to make them aware of any significant HMRC development
I have spoken to a Customer Coordinator who assures me that no direct request has been made of them to
request information of this nature.
HN asked if it was possible to have details of the agency requesting the information so that an approach can be
made to the Customer Co-coordinator directly
10. I (a member of the agent group) have in the last couple of months come across three instances of what appear
to be standard letters being sent to clients that have the impact of an officer's decision denying the right to deduct
while not advising of the right to request reconsideration or appeal to a Tribunal.
In one of these an agent had been appointed but was not informed; the client happened to be a hospital in-patient
with breast cancer. When I learned of the position the matter was out of time for appeal.
Each of these came from VAT processing centers. These were:
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The voluntary disclosure unit regarding a refund claim for input tax that was not included in the returns.
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The registration unit over a building where an option was in place.
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The DIY self-build unit over a claim for a village hall. I consider this to be indicative of a worrying trend.
Response – AP4 - Please supply the reference numbers for these examples so that I can see if there was any
specific reason why the correspondence was sent to the customer directly and not to the agent
11. Proposed Closure of enquiry centres. This will impact on less articulate taxpayers as well as those who might
need to discuss something in some depth. This seems to extend the attitude of not wanting anyone to visit HMRC
offices. Also with regard to proposed home visits how is HMRC intending to convince the taxpayer that a “home
visit”, based on HMRC’s decision as to whether it is appropriate, is actually to assist rather than anything else?
(Sounds rather like traffic wardens saying they will be round to help you park your car easily and without penalty).
Response - HN provided a statement about the closure of enquiry centers.
HMRC is dedicated to providing help to customers who need it. This new service will enable us to tailor that help in
a way that works better for customers and is more flexible and affordable than the service we currently provide.
We will give a more specialized phone service for customers whose affairs can be resolved over the telephone and
face –to-face help to those who need it, visiting them at a place convenient to them, saving them both travel and
time. HMRC will provide a more modern and accessible service that will target the right support to customers who
need it where and when they want it.
DF asked if here was a link between Companies House and HMRC? He has experienced problems with the issue
of penalties when a company has already been struck off.
AP5 HN to investigate
HB raised concerns about an email she had received from Santander about SA payment problems. The email was
not very clearly worded,
AP6 HB to pass copy to HN to review
Summary of Action Points
AP1 HN to submit to RTI team for a response – There is nothing in the guidance to say that payment cannot be
made if it is not possible to submit the FPS, here is some guidance on correcting errors
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payerti/reporting/errors.htm
AP2 HN to complete suggestion template – Template is working as Suggestion SO93 and it has been submitted to
the business area for review.
AP3 HN to investigate and feedback – under review with business area.
AP4 - Please supply the reference numbers for these examples so that I can see if there was any specific reason
why the correspondence was sent to the customer directly and not to the agent
AP5 HN to investigate - Please see this Companies House Booklet which advises that HMRC must be contacted
AP6 HB to pass copy to HN to review – Copy received, this was a standard communication issued to all Working
Together Agents to alert them to some problems HMRC was having with the Santander Bill Paying Service.
Because of the payment deadline It was sent directly to all known WT agents (instead of via the Working Together
Coordinators) so that they could warn/update their clients if necessary.
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Date of next meeting: Thursday 3 October, 10.00am, Podium Conference Room,St Clare House, Ipswich
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