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Fury at HMRC as woman spends weeks trying to call and gets late submission penalty

A woman has vented her frustration at HMRC after she spent three weeks trying to get through on the phoneline only to be slapped with a late submission penalty.

She reached out to the tax authority’s customer support over X to ask for help after trying several times to update her details.

She said: “We have spent hours and hours trying to inform you of our change of phone number. You have our new address but not the phone number.

“When we try to do this online you send an access code to our old number – where the house is unoccupied. Going round in circles.”

The support team told her if she was trying online, she would need to click on the ‘You can get help’ button to reset the method of receiving the code.

The frustrated customer replied: “We tried that and it just refers us to a phone number and we can’t get through to it.”

HMRC then advised that the issue could only be solved by calling the number, saying that the best time to call is between 8am and 9am from Monday to Friday.

The customer then said: “We have been trying for three weeks now to get through (always at that early hour) and have been penalised for late submission.”

A person can get a late submission penalty if they fail to file their self assessment tax return on time or if they don’t provide other information to HMRC by a specified date.

Customers can appeal against a penalty. If it relates to an indirect tax, such as VAT, customs duty or excise duty, you will be offered a review by HMRC in the penalty decision letter.

For a direct tax penalty, such as for income tax, corporation tax or capital gains tax, you will need to ask HMRC to look at their case again and consider their appeal.

If an individual gets their penalty letter by post, they can use the appeal form that comes with it, or follow the instructions in the letter.

There are alternative ways to appeal for penalties relating to self assessment, PAYE, VAT nad corporation tax. More information is available here.

You will usually have 30 days from the date your penalty was issued to lodge an appeal. If a person misses this deadline, they must explain the reason why so the tax authority can decide whether to look at their appeal.

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