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Where Taxpayers and Advisers Meet

HMRC tax forum-is it a good idea?

etf
Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:25 pm

HMRC tax forum-is it a good idea?

Postby etf » Fri May 01, 2020 7:24 am

It appears HMRC now has its own tax forum which I looked at for the first time last night.

My immediate reaction was this has to be a step in the right direction. Tax can be very complicated and receiving a response to a question from HMRC in writing is somehow much more tangible than a telephone conversation where points can easily be misunderstood. Additionally, once a question has been answered it is there for other taxpayers to read so an element of HMRC having to answer the same question numerous times may be reduced which is a good thing when resourses are stretched.

Answering tax questions in a forum format is a potentially dangerous occupation. To use football parlance you are only as good as your last game, or your last post in this setting. This became clear (assuming my understanding is correct) from the first question I clicked on which is reproduced below:

Hi,

I'm the director of a foreign (EU) company and receive a salary from that. I carry out my work in the UK.
The company doesn't operate in the UK, it's not registered or settled here in the UK, no office, no residency, neither it operates PAYE.

So I need to report my income tax and NIC myself.

Can you help please on which sheets should I report my salary and the NIC that I need to pay?

Thanks in advance,
Les


My immediate reaction was that the EU company employer potentially has an obligation to operate a NI only payroll-see HMRC guidance below:

From 1 May 2010, an employer in another European Union (EU) Member State will also be treated as being UK registered or having a place of business in the UK for National Insurance purposes where the employee is in UK National Insurance. From 1 April 2012 this will also be the case for employers based in Switzerland, from 1 June 2012 employers based in Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and from 1 July 2013 employers based in Croatia.


From May 2010 EC Regulation 883/2004 introduced a change to the NIC responsibilities of employers based in other EC member states.

Where an employee works in the UK for an employer based in another EC member state and NI liability arises, the liability will be for both primary and secondary contributions. In such a situation the employer is responsible or setting up (or arranging for a UK agent to set up) a NI scheme to pay the NI liability to HMRC.


The initial reply from HMRC overlooked the potential NI reporting failure and even when pressed in a follow-up question the reply was not very clear. Assuming my analysis is correct this is a potential problem for HMRC because other taxpayers may read the initial answer and think it will be okay to pay tax only through their personal tax return and ignore NI. Whilst this may well be an isolated situation issues like this could become costly.

I do however have a potential solution. I suggest taxpayers should post their question on HMRC's forum and then re-post it on Taxationweb to see whether the responses match.

etf
Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:25 pm

Re: HMRC tax forum-is it a good idea?

Postby etf » Fri May 01, 2020 7:29 am

Resources not resourses-just to prove my point about the hazards of posting.

abidemi
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:12 pm

Re: HMRC tax forum-is it a good idea?

Postby abidemi » Fri May 01, 2020 11:18 am

I think it is a good idea to post in both places and compare! I have registered but i don’t find it very user friendly. Also their webchat answers are not exactly 'chatty'! But more monosyllabic. However, I was pleased to learn that I could get through fairly quickly.

etf
Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:25 pm

Re: HMRC tax forum-is it a good idea?

Postby etf » Fri May 01, 2020 11:44 am

Thank you for posting your feedback.

Alan Carr might be the right appointment for HMRC to encourage a friendlier tone, although I think we would have stipulate that he is not allowed to seek ideas from fellow comedian Jimmy of the same surname.

I've suggested two new HMRC appointments in the last 12 months..... Judge Thomas and Alan Carr. I think the combination could work...what do you think Boris?

maths
Posts: 7995
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:25 pm

Re: HMRC tax forum-is it a good idea?

Postby maths » Fri May 01, 2020 12:45 pm

When were the forums originally set up?

etf
Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:25 pm

Re: HMRC tax forum-is it a good idea?

Postby etf » Fri May 01, 2020 1:29 pm

The following was published in mid-December 2019:

HMRC have launched an online forum where individuals, businesses and employers can post questions on a range of tax topics for HMRC to answer. This additional way of contacting HMRC is welcome, particularly in the run up to the Self Assessment deadline where people may be grappling with their tax return. This article gives some guidance on how to use the service.

Anyone can access the ‘Customers Forum’. There are many different ‘rooms’ available – including ones on Self Assessment, Income From Property, and Expenses. To post a question, simply register and create a profile – see this guidance document on how to register for this new service.

There’s also a separate feature, the Knowledge Base, which contains answers to frequently asked questions on a variety of topics and where you can find information on a number of subjects to help you with your tax affairs. HMRC say that content is regularly updated and new material added.

You may find posting a question in the forum much easier and more convenient than other ways of contacting HMRC, such as phoning them or using their webchat service.

However, a few words of warning:

The responses given by HMRC in the forums may not be comprehensive. It is important to understand that tax law is a complicated area. If you are unsure at all about your situation, you should seek further clarification or ensure you take proper advice based on your circumstances, rather than acting (or failing to act) based on any of HMRC's answers.
This is a ‘community’ forum – mostly HMRC post answers but it is possible for anyone to do this. As such, you need to be cautious - you could be easily misled by well-meaning but incorrect information posted by another user.
Just as it is important ALWAYS to write down the details of a phone call with HMRC, you should keep a copy of your Q and A in case it disappears from the forum. You could take a screenshot if necessary – ‘Prt Sc’ (Print Screen) allows you to take a picture of your full screen and then paste it into a Word document for your records. Alternatively you could just print the page with the question and answer on your printer, if you have one. In terms of taking a print screen on your mobile, this will vary depending on the type of phone that you have. You could try pressing the power and volume-down buttons at the same time, or if you have an iPhone or your device has a home button, try the power and home buttons together. You should then be able to access the screenshot from your photo gallery.
We are interested in your experience of using these new facilities. If you would like to share this with us, please contact us.

maths
Posts: 7995
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:25 pm

Re: HMRC tax forum-is it a good idea?

Postby maths » Fri May 01, 2020 2:37 pm

Thanks elf. I originally came across the forums by accident when they popped up in a google search I was doing at the time. Have never really bothered with it.

Am half and half about them. They do at least offer some help to those not involved in the tax world.

As you suggest I would also be inclined to lodge a query on taxation web and on HMRC sites at the same time and compare answers; hopefully they would tally !!

etf
Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:25 pm

Re: HMRC tax forum-is it a good idea?

Postby etf » Mon May 04, 2020 10:55 am

I think the forum should probably just use initials rather than publishing the names of the posters. A lot of information is sometimes being provided which probably should not be in the public domain. HMRC agrees with this standpoint (understandably) for their own staff.

abidemi
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:12 pm

Re: HMRC tax forum-is it a good idea?

Postby abidemi » Tue May 05, 2020 10:05 am

I just used a user name. Even though we have been frustrated at the inability to verify with the Post Office, I have been reassured by the HMRC forum answers which were helpful.

etf
Posts: 686
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:25 pm

Re: HMRC tax forum-is it a good idea?

Postby etf » Tue May 05, 2020 11:13 am

I think that is very sensible, although some posters seem to have detailed their full names etc. I'm sure it would be easy to write a programme so just initials are included thus keeping all information anon'.


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