I can’t convince HMRC I’m not self-employed

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HMRC keeps sending me late self-assessment charge letters although I have repeatedly told its staff I have been fully employed for the past 14 years – ironically, by the civil service.

Having completed all the relevant forms to say that I am not self-employed, HMRC said in February it would not be issuing returns after 2021, as I didn’t need to complete them.

Since then, I have received a £100 charge for not submitting my 2021 tax return. HMRC’s advice line has told me I registered as self-employed in May 2021, but I know I didn’t.

This morning, I received three further penalty notices for self-assessment tax returns totalling £2,700 for the period 2017-20. I was also told that the late fees for the most recent year will start increasing by £10 a day. I’m finding these threats increasingly stressful and no one seems to able to stop them.

PC, by email

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Incredibly, this turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. After I sent HMRC all the information, it emerged that your tax details had been mixed up with someone else’s, and it was this person who had registered for self-assessment.

Most people would have thought there would be systems in place to stop this, but seemingly not.

HMRC says: “We have apologised to PC and corrected our records. We have closed the self-assessment record, cancelled the penalties, and sent a redress payment.”

On the plus side, HMRC staff also realised that you had overpaid your tax, and this has been refunded.

I am getting a lot of complaints about delays and problems with this government department. Let’s hope this is not about to become the next DVLA.

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