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Taxpayers have to resort to A19 concession to write off tax debt

Almost 25% of the people who appealed against the tax demands they received from HMRC after the problems with the new PAYE computer system have been told that there tax debt is now cancelled.

Around 1.4 million people, including freelancers, got tax demands that totalled £3.8 billion after the Revenue admitted that millions of tax bills were incorrect.

David Gauke, the treasury minister has now said that 23% of people who used the A19 statutory concession to challenge their demand had been successful. A19 requires taxpayers to show that they had reason to think their tax affairs were in order and in the case of 10,000 people the concession paid off.

Last year, Mr Gauke claimed that the concession does not often apply in practice and people shouldn't build up their hopes. And yet 25,000 pensioners have used it successfully in addition to the 10,000 referred to here.

HMRC has denied that it deliberately tried to discourage people from appealing. A spokesman from the Revenue pointed out that more than one million underpayment letters were sent out so the percentage of successful appeals should be seen as a proportion of that as opposed to the percentage of appeals that were lodged.

In order for the concession to be applicable to your case, HMRC must have delayed using information that it already held on you and the arrears in question must be at least 12 months old. Occasionally arrears less than a year old will be cancelled if the Revenue failed to use data in several consecutive years.

If you have received a tax demand and think the A19 concession may apply to you, write a letter to the Revenue claiming ESC A19. Further information is available on the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group's website.

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