In December 2017 one of our clients made contact with HMRC to clarify an issue he had been experiencing. From that phone call, HMRC altered the client’s records without being requested to do so and created an error. This was raised immediately with HMRC who stated there was nothing they could do about it.
In January we made contact with HMRC to see if we could rectify this situation and we also wrote a letter of complaint on behalf of our client as this has affected them commercially. The Revenue responded saying that they had listened to the recording of the telephone conversation and that they were not at fault. We therefore requested a copy of the audio recording to be emailed to us so that we could listen to it ourselves, as we were confident the error was with HMRC and not our client.
HMRC responded, almost ignoring the first letter they had sent to us, saying they had listened to the audio recording and confirmed that the error was created by themselves and offered to compensate the client for this error as well as the costs they had incurred. A calculation of our client’s losses and our invoice was sent to the Revenue and within 14 days the payment had been issued.
If the client had accepted the original response from HMRC, the matter would have gone no further and our client would had been financially out of pocket.
There were two key factors in this case. The first was that the client took notes from the initial phone call they had with HMRC including the names of the people they spoke to - this is important as the client may have doubted their recollection of the course of events. Secondly, not to take HMRC at face value.