As a seasoned professional, I sometimes have to think outside of the box in order to win an argument with HMRC. In fact, my clients don’t get a lot of queries, and I’ve been told that HMRC keep a database of those accountants they think are reputable, and those that aren’t.
However, over the years, I have had a few ‘spats’ with HMRC. Generally, they know that I’ll fight hard, but that I am completely straight. Sometimes I have won with technical arguments, but I have also won a fair few by being tactically aware and/or just belligerent !
A recent tactic that I have used successfully is to address letters to : ‘an experienced HMRC officer and/or someone with an ounce of common sense’ ! I’ve done this again recently on behalf of an elderly pensioner client who made a simple clerical mistake. It’s one I’ve seen quite a lot – sometimes insurance companies send out huge wadges of documents, where literally only one or two sheets are important. The omission has already been put right, and the correct amount of tax (with interest) has been paid. HMRC are trying to charge a penalty by claiming the omission was deliberate / negligent / fraudulent.
Parliament did not intend 79 year pensioners to be harassed or penalised in this way !!!