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Completing self-assessment - question I don't understand!
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# 1
KiKi
Old 07-04-2011, 3:23 PM
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Default Completing self-assessment - question I don't understand!

Hi all

I'm just completing my tax return online. This question comes up:


************************************
Underpaid tax included in PAYE coding (Page 1 of 2)
* indicates required information

Our records show that your 2010-11 PAYE Notice of Coding includes an adjustment for tax underpaid. Please complete the following question(s).

Underpaid tax for earlier years included in your tax code for 2010-11: 0.00
If this figure is not correct, select 'No' and you will be given a chance to amend it below.*

*************************************


I have never, ever, received a PAYE Notice of Coding - I always checked it on my payslip. In addition, I was only employed for 1 day of PAYE this financial year - the rest of the time I was self-employed!

But more to the point, if their records show I have an adjustment for tax underpaid, why is it included at 0? Surely that means I don't have an adjustment?

My tax code for 2009-10 and on my payslip for the 1 day's PAYE work I did in 2010-2011 was 657L. My company explained (a while ago) that this was because we're contracted out of SERPs.

So with regards to the HMRC question "if this figure is not correct...", can I assume it is correct at 0? I don't understand why I have underpaid 0 tax if it has an adjustment?!

Thanks if anyone understands anything I've posted....

KiKi
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# 2
toby puppy
Old 07-04-2011, 3:30 PM
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it sounds as though they have collected some of the tax on self employment tax for 09-10 through your 2010-11 coding. I would ring up and ask them for a copy of your 2010-11 coding notice and enter the figure that's shown on there just to be sure.

Not sure why they are showing zero, it might be just a default of zero as a lot of people wouldn't have an adjustment, I think it's just giving you the chance to enter an amount, which would be straightforward if you had the coding notice.
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# 3
KiKi
Old 07-04-2011, 3:34 PM
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Hi Jo

Thanks for your response. I wonder why they did that? When I completed a return last year I specifically stated I didn't want that to happen!

I did wonder if it was a generic question to everyone, but then telling people "our records show you have..." implies that it did apply to them specifically.

However, I *did* have some dealings with HMRC this year - for 6 years I had overpaid tax at the 40% rate due to charity payments which were undeclared. I sorted this out and got a one-off payment back from them, but that was all sorted in January.

I'll call them and see if I can get to the bottom of it!

Thanks
KiKi
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# 4
KiKi
Old 07-04-2011, 3:59 PM
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I have just spoken to the rudest person at HMRC (and I've spoken to some over the last year).

I told him what the question said and he put me on hold, came back and said "there is no underpaid tax or adjustment, you're talking nonsense." To which I replied that I was reading the question in front of me, and he said "if it's not there, it's not there, that's what I'm telling you. I can't make it be there. Ignore the question." And pretty much put the phone down.

Fine, I'm ignoring it! He also reprimanded me for asking what my tax code was because as a self-employed person I shouldn't have one.

This is why I don't like dealing with HMRC, I find more unhelpful people than helpful ones...

KiKi
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# 5
BAA1
Old 07-04-2011, 4:22 PM
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Tax returns have standard questions.

Some questions you do not need to answer because they do not apply to your particular situation.

The question you have highlighted is simply telling you that you did not have any underpaid tax from an earlier year included in your tax code for 2010-11

Any standard form that needs to be filled in, like a tax return, has to be able to be used by many different people who have different circumstances, so it would be impossible to make the wording of any one question apply to every possible variation. That particular question is not the best use of English in your case, but it isn't that misleading either, there are worse forms around
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# 6
Linda-alb
Old 07-04-2011, 4:23 PM
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Angry Sad but true :(

My brother told me the same story about calling HMRC

Rude lady on the phone, didn't clarify anything and ++ hung up.
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# 7
KiKi
Old 07-04-2011, 4:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAA1 View Post
Tax returns have standard questions.

Some questions you do not need to answer because they do not apply to your particular situation.
I completely understand that - but when you have questions which don't apply to everyone, there is a way of wording them to ensure individuals understand this. I used to write employee surveys which had to conform to the MRS code of conduct, and whilst this isn't a survey, the principles of comprehension still apply!


Quote:
That particular question is not the best use of English in your case, but it isn't that misleading either, there are worse forms around
I completely disagree that it's not misleading! It says:
Quote:
Our records show that your 2010-11 PAYE Notice of Coding includes an adjustment for tax underpaid."
That's a clear statement that I have an adjustment! It's not even misleading; it's downright incorrect.


What I would suggest it should say is:
"Some individuals have adjustments on their 2010-11 PAYE Notice of Coding. Our records show that your adjustment is: 0.
Is this correct?"

That would make sense. I'm sure there are worse forms, but it doesn't make this less worse!

KiKi
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# 8
BAA1
Old 07-04-2011, 4:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiKi View Post
....

What I would suggest it should say is:
"Some individuals have adjustments on their 2010-11 PAYE Notice of Coding. Our records show that your adjustment is: 0.
Is this correct?"
I totally agree, your wording would be much better. The online system does allow us to provide feedback, you could offer your words as an improvement to the tax return, maybe HMRC will take notice, you never know.

I have previously provided feedback of an error on the early release of the 2009-10 tax return (they had used cut and paste when they generated the new tax year form and then forgot to amend the year from 2008-09). I fed this back and it was corrected on the next release of the online software.

Last edited by BAA1; 07-04-2011 at 4:50 PM. Reason: Typo
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# 9
harryhound
Old 07-04-2011, 5:00 PM
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Have you got the dubious privilege of testing the new 10/11 version of the on-line self assessment system?

Though there is a clear link between the ability to write English and the ability to write software - the latter demands a precision that is not needed in English, so those who write software often seem to get into a loop of "gobldy geek" in their efforts to explain what the underlying software is trying to do.
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# 10
KiKi
Old 07-04-2011, 5:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harryhound View Post
Have you got the dubious privilege of testing the new 10/11 version of the on-line self assessment system?

Though there is a clear link between the ability to write English and the ability to write software - the latter demands a precision that is not needed in English, so those who write software often seem to get into a loop of "gobldy geek" in their efforts to explain what the underlying software is trying to do.
Don't know if I have the privilege - it looked the same as last year to me, bar some new questions! Is there a way to tell?

Totally agree re the software. When I wrote employee surveys I was constantly re-writing questions which worked in terms of question routing for the software, but made no sense to the user!

In fairness to HMRC, all the other questions were very clear, and all include an explanation. But this one is phrased very poorly, and should not be included as is.

I think I will feedback to them, as I get the impression that HMRC have had a few calls, hence getting all stroppy with me today for daring to ask! Silly me!

Thanks all for your help.
KiKi
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