I got a letter from HMRC this morning – to my company, not to me personally. It basically said “we’ve been looking at the PAYE you paid in 2010/11 and it looks like you’ve overpaid by [a surprisingly large number of pounds]“.
Now 2010/11 was the year that I was having some difficulties with my accountants. The difficulties eventually got so bad that I switched to my new accountants (who I’m still very happy with). So it doesn’t really surprise me that something went wrong that year, although the amount (it’s about 25% of the PAYE/NI I paid that year) is impressive.
What really surprises me is the tone of this letter. Having told me that I’ve overpaid (and, helpfully, pointed out the exact extra payment that I made) the letter goes on to say:
Before I can agree to either a refund or a credit, please let me the reason the overpayment has arisen
Please complete the enclosed P35D giving a full explanation as to how the overpayment occurred.
Below are some example of reasons I cannot accept to justify an overpayment
- Duplicate payments with no evidence to explain why
- Statements such as ‘Payment(s) made in error’ with no further explanation
- The overpayment is due to monthly payments which do not match our records
- Any other explanation without evidence to support it
I’m finding it hard to read that in any way other than “we know we’ve got some of your money but you can’t have it back until you’ve explained in detail just how crap your record-keeping is”.
You’ve got my money. You know it’s my money. Either my accountants or I screwed up in some way. There’s no more detailed explanation than that. Just give it back to me, you bastards.