Very often it is the things which are not said during a Budget speech which give the greatest cause for concern. These can sometimes be seen more clearly after a day or so of reflection. We worry that the continuing complexity of the tax and welfare systems, coupled with inadequate resources and a low priority given to those on low incomes will mean a continuing deterioration in service.
Two years ago Government Ministers undertook to take steps to try and ensure that pensioners who were overpaying tax would be helped by the tax authorities. It now seems that for some these steps will be too late and once again pensioners will lose out.
LITRG has strongly criticised HMRC's practice on collecting tax credit overpayments that are due to official error. Giving evidence to an influential body of MPs, LITRG said that the so-called 'reasonableness test' took no account of claimants with differing abilities and levels of comprehension.
The above heading is a valid question after our 91 attempts to speak to an HMRC helpline on which we reported two months ago. Not a happy experience. We decided to follow up this investigation by finding how easy it was to find a telephone number to contact the "tax man" in order to pay him a visit.
In our previous article we discussed the new legislation allowing deferral of your state pension in favour of a lump sum. We also outlined the effects on tax and various benefits during the period of deferment. This article seeks to explain in more detail what happens to your tax and benefits once you stop deferring and start receiving extra state pension or a lump sum payment.
In his Pre Budget speech the Chancellor announced a number of measures which will, in time, alleviate some of the harsher edges to the tax credits system, and which, for the last 18 months, we and others have been campaigning.
On Monday evening 14 November LITRG featured in BBC1's episode of Real Story with Fiona Bruce. The subject was a claimant whose overpayment nightmare turned out to have been wholly unnecessary: she was actually owed money by HMRC, not the other way around.