Law firm claims taxman is wrong in half of complaints

Ben Southwood
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THE TAXMAN admitted it was wrong in well over half of the complaints it received through the 2010-11 tax year, research from law firm Pinsent Masons has revealed.

There were some 58,110 complaints made to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in 2010-11, and in 33,284 – or 57 per cent – of these the complaint was upheld.

The complaints system is three-tiered, and after two rejections from HMRC, a complaint can be taken to the Adjudicator’s Office – and last year 53 per cent of these cases, rejected at the first two stages, were upheld.

But Pinsent Masons worry that taxpayers do not know their rights. “Taxpayers don’t always use the opportunities they have to challenge HMRC,” said George Gillham, legal director at the firm.

“Many complaints result in HMRC writing a tax liability off or offering compensation – and quite a lot of money can be at stake,” Gillham added.