Why does HMRC pay tax returns to a ‘mystery business’?
HER Majesty’s Revenue & Custom has been accused of ‘turning a blind eye’ to a business claiming tax returns on behalf of a client.
The revelations came after a Blackburn woman said she had ‘no idea’ how a ‘mystery firm’ received a check from HRMC.
The woman, named Jessica, said she was contacted on March 10 by post, receiving an official letter from HMRC saying she would be reimbursed £60.
When she then contacted HMRC to find out when she would be paid, she was told a check had been sent to a company called Tax Credits Limited.
It was a company that Jessica had never signed up with or even heard of.
Companies House lists an address for Tax Credits Limited in an office block in Cardiff which has not been used ‘for more than a year’.
Offices there told the Lancashire Telegraph they receive 20 calls a day from angry HMRC customers who have been left out.
When the Lancashire Telegraph contacted other addresses associated with the company director, this also proved unsuccessful.
When contacted, HMRC will not respond to inquiries relating to Tax Credits Limited, or an associated company Tax Rebate Processing Limited. They also declined to say if they had a contact number for the company.
It came despite growing anger and frustration from customers who were told their money had gone to a company no one could reach.
Taxpayers have resorted to airing their grievances online at trusted driver detailing their “horrifying” experiences.
Jessica said: ‘I got a letter on March 10 regarding my tax return and I was owed money and a check would follow.
“I never thought much about it at the time. It wasn’t a huge sum, but later in May I decided to contact HMRC.
“When I called the tax authorities not having received it, they explained to me that they had sent my check on March 13 to a company of which I was not aware.
“They gave me the address to contact the company that filed this but no phone number.
“I certainly hadn’t signed anything, and I hadn’t told any company to act on my behalf.”
She said she called the offices listed on Companies House and were told they could not reach the business either, and were told the business had moved.
“The HRMC did not have a number for the company. Which I found strange,” she added.
“I called HMRC to tell them; they just replied that they had done nothing wrong and there was nothing they could do to help.
“I don’t know how they got my details.
“I find it baffling that HMRC is not taking this more seriously and why this has not been raised to a higher level.”
Tax Credits Limited is based in Brunel House, Cardiff, according to its latest Companies House records.
The Lancashire Telegraph called Brunel House, and a spokesman for the offices said they had received up to 20 calls a day from angry people trying to get their money back.
The spokesperson said: ‘We haven’t heard from this company for a year.
“It looks like they were using us here as a virtual office and their mail hadn’t been collected.
“It’s really frustrating for us because we get 20 calls a day from people. It has nothing to do with our offices.
List of Companies House Tax Credits Ltd with a director named Nicola Jane Walmsley.
The company had two previous addresses at International House, Churchill Way, Cardiff and Moody Hall Annex, Moody Street, Congleton, which were replaced by the newer address in May and June respectively.
The company itself was incorporated in February 2020. Tax Rebates Limited changed its name to Tax Credits Limited on May 26, 2020.
Nicola Jane Walmsley is also listed as a director for Processing of limited tax refundsbased at St James House, 14 Moody Street, Congleton, Cheshire, a company which was incorporated as David James Brennan with controlling shares.
Calls to St James’s House are not possible with its phone number listed as ‘suspended’.
A website www.taxrebate.uk lists an email address in Brunel House, Cardiff and is believed to be linked to Tax Credits Limited. The website says it “does not offer phone support.”
There was no response to our questions.
The HRMC does not endorse agents or use them to advise people of any claims they may make.
The Lancashire Telegraph has asked HMRC to clarify if it is aware of Tax Credits Limited and Tax Rebate Processing Limited.
We also asked for company contact details and whether customer concerns were being addressed. The HRMC did not respond to requests for further details and could not confirm whether an investigation had been opened.
Instead, an HMRC spokesperson said: ‘Customers should be careful when responding to online advertisements.
“You should verify who you are dealing with before submitting personal information and carefully read the terms and conditions of the reimbursement agent to understand what you are signing up for, the fees you will pay and the legal agreement you are signing.
“If you believe you have not signed a contract, known as an assignment, or if you are unhappy with the service you received or the fees you were charged, you should discuss this with the company in first place.
“We strongly encourage customers to make their own complaints online at GOV.UK, which will allow them to retain whatever is owed to them.”