HMRC vs. Debt Collectors - What to do?

in Cutting Tax
4 replies 233 views
I hope this is the right category to post in - it's not strictly cutting tax but is tax related so fingers crossed it's okay.

Okay, shortish summary:
A year or so ago my husband discovered he owed money to HMRC for child benefit we'd been receiving when we shouldn't have been because he is in the higher tax bracket. It was totally our mistake - both of us had ignorantly thought it was coming out of his tax already, but that's another story. Of course we started paying back what we owed - did a couple of lump sums then £150 a month. The total was about £10k which was pretty horrible to hear just before christmas! But as I say, it was through our own ignorance, which is no excuse.

About two months ago, he checked his self-assessment account and there was about £300 left to pay so we thought great - nearly there, and this month cancelled the direct debit. His account shows him as now owing nothing.

Last week, he got a letter from a debt collector saying a debt from HMRC had been transferred to them for £650. He called HMRC - they said everything looks up to date to them. Maybe it was a scam, maybe not, maybe a mistake, maybe not - best call the company using their proper number and check. He did say there was £400 that had "suddenly disappeared" in June but couldn't tell us whether it had been paid by us, or anything else. My husband asked why would some have been transferred to a debt collection agency if we were in the middle of paying it off. HMRC said they don't know. Why wouldn't we have got a letter? HMRC - don't know, probably our mistake.

He called the debt collection agency - they said the money is owed. If he wants to query it, call HMRC. That the debt was transferred to them 13 days ago. Husband asked why we wouldn't have got a letter informing us, or a final demand even, they said 'dunno, don't think they are sending out letters at the moment". Meanwhile they will continue to pursue the debt.

Where do we stand here? If no-one can tell us where the money is from, or have informed us at any point that it was owed, it seems wrong that we should pay it. If it is this mysterious £400, then where has the other £250 come from? And what can we do next? He is going to call HMRC again today but isn't holding out much hope.

Replies

  • Dazed_and_C0nfusedDazed_and_C0nfused Forumite
    4.6K Posts
    1,000 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭
    Have you considered making a list of all the tax charges (tax, interest, late payment penalty (if there is one)) etc and then a list of payments and seeing what the difference is?

    Somewhere to start.
  • Have you considered making a list of all the tax charges (tax, interest, late payment penalty (if there is one)) etc and then a list of payments and seeing what the difference is?

    Somewhere to start.
    That's a good idea - something fun for him to do this weekend!
  • edited 28 September 2020 at 5:44PM
    macmanmacman Forumite
    48.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 28 September 2020 at 5:44PM
    There's a relatively sophisticated scam under the guise of HMRC approved DCA's. They use their letterhead and address but a fake phone number for payment. BPO is one of the legit agents who have been spoofed. If HMRC say the payments are not valid, then don't pay it, and report the scam to HMRC.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • macmanmacman Forumite
    48.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    The giveaway is that the letters don't specify what actual tax is owed (income tax etc), they just refer to 'overdue tax', as a catch-all.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
Sign In or Register to comment.
Latest News and Guides

Best student bank accounts 2021/22

Incl. free 0% overdrafts and railcards

MSE Guide

Next 50% off sale rumour

Here's what we've found...

MSE Deals