There are three things that you can count on that HMRC will do:
- Calculate the amount of tax you owe based on the information they have gathered.
- Chase you for payment of this tax if not recovered by PAYE.
- Pursue you if they believe you have under-declared your taxable income or made excessive claims to reduce your tax.
What they will not do is advise you to maximise the benefit of reliefs and allowances to which you are entitled to claim.
HMRC rely to some extent on the age-old principal that ignorance of the law is not, in most cases, a valid excuse for not obeying that law.
Stretching that principal to an extreme, if we want to make sure that we are complying with tax law, we should read it before earning profits or income. As most students of tax law will confirm, this is a full-time endeavour, and not one you can effectively undertake as well as your day job.
It is possible for any taxpayer to call HMRC, or to visit their website to check out responsibilities, but it’s difficult to do this if you have no idea what questions to ask.
The grey areas, the tax reduction strategies that the law allows, you will have to discover for yourself. Which is fine if you know what you can claim, but what if you don’t know?
HMRC will merely apply the facts as they are presented. In some respects, the tax profession intervenes to ensure that their clients make the most of the tax allowance and reliefs available, thus relieving HMRC of the responsibility to ensure that you only pay the minimum tax demanded by legislation.
If you are concerned that you may be overpaying tax, please call so that we can discuss your options.
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