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One For You, Nineteen For Me Says UK Tax Man

By Michelle Duffy     Jul 6, 2007 in Business
If there is anyone who we know for a fact is going to get the figures right, it;'s going to be tax man, but not for a group or hard workers in the UK. Around a million UK workers have been paying the wrong amount in taxes
The National Audit Office has released a fairly disturbing report this week on the amount we, about a million of us, pay as income tax in the UK, and the results say we are paying the wrong amount.
Last year was a good year for the UK's Inland Revenue. The report shows quite clearly that in 95% of cases, people were paying the right amount. 95% is not bad going, although it should be 100%. This is the Inland Revenue after all.
So what about the 5% of those who have been paying the wrong tax, or at least, how much went missing? Well, according to the report, it is thought that around as much as £125 million went uncollected from employees and those who are self employed. Yet what is even more distressing is that a larger figure of £157 million was overpaid, and probably by me.
The HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) say it that there will be schemes in place to stop this from happening again. Yet this money is missing, or simply not paid, do the HMRC wished to still grab this colossal amount from the worker's wages?
We don't know and it is certainly figures that can't be simply written off. Sir John Bourn, head hunch of the HMRC said of the 'mistakes,'
"HMRC has improved its processing of income tax returns, but there are still substantial numbers of taxpayers who are affected by processing errors," said Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO. Vulnerable groups such as pensioners are likely to be disproportionately affected."
The last statement is shocking. If there is one thing we worry about, especially the elderly, is tax. The other group of workers who also may be affected are the ones who have to hold down several jobs. In these cases, calculating tax can prove to be quite a headache, yet we have to 'trust' the Inland Revenue to a point, to sort out the figures for us.
Sizing the over payments down to an individual amount results in around £290 each. Those who have underpaid owe around £250.
However, mentioned into he report, the NAO discovered that the mistakes which had been made as a whole, were down in number since the HMRC were putting tax cases through the computer instead of paper and pencil.
Yet this still hasn't made up for the mistakes which have come to light in regards to over and under payments. Edward Leigh, an MP and chairman of the public accounts committee was still, suitably unimpressed. He said,
"Errors don't only cause financial problems, they also result in anxiety and wasted time and effort in putting matters right. Many of the people who are affected are vulnerable members of society and deserve better."
More about Income tax, Errors, Million