Cam family face £877 bill after tax mix-up
A FAMILY from Cam are being forced to tighten their belts after a mistake by the tax office meant they must pay back a rebate of £810 - and more besides.
Emma, 38, and Shayne Baldwin, 43, were delighted when they received the initial letter from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs department (HMRC), which said it was "pleased" to be able to give them the rebate, complete with calculations on how it was figured out.
The parents, who live in Draycott, decided to treat their children, 10-year-old twins Shannon and Lagan, to a camping holiday over the summer holidays.
However 17 days later they received another letter from HMRC demanding the money back plus an additional £67 after admitting it had miscalculated.
Mrs Baldwin, a cleaner and volunteer at Cam Everlands School, wrote back to complain but the Government department's response further angered her by saying that the onus was on her and her lorry driver husband to check the rebate was correct.
The mistake arose because the tax office had not taken into account that Mr Baldwin had started a new job in September – despite taxing him for the work from the start.
In the subsequent letter the Baldwins were told the payment was made "automatically via the system".
"The onus is on the individual to check these and if there is any discrepancy to advise us," it read.
"I am sorry if this has caused any inconvenience, but the full amount of £877 is due to be repaid by you."
Mrs Baldwin said she was unsure how they were going to pay back the large sum.
"That is pretty much two months' mortgage for us," she said.
"I am disgusted that they had made the mistake. As a taxpayer I am paying them to do that job so it’s their problem. We are a working-class family, we can’t afford for an accountant to check it for us.
"We’re hard-working, we pay our bills, pay our tax and we have never had a tax rebate. To me it’s their mistake and they should do something about it."
Spokeswoman for HMRC, Lisa Billard, said the pay as you earn (PAYE) tax method took the right amount of tax from most people but was not always accurate for those who regularly change employment.
"It is vital customers check their end of year tax calculations carefully," she said.
"Mr Baldwin’s initial PAYE calculation did not include a large amount of income from a new job. When HMRC became aware of this we issued an updated calculation and have already agreed to collect the underpayment from his tax over 12 months, starting in April, 2014."
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