Lady Penelope: “Isn’t life fun sometimes?”
Parker: “Rib ticklin’, M’Lady”.
It’s going to be a short blog post this month as I am absolutely knackered. The combination of moving house and rampant insomnia has brought dark clouds to my normally sunny disposition. In the move I’ve lost the glass top to my Daum inkwell as well as six coffee cups and saucers with picture of human vital organs on them (a present from a Dutch friend who is an ENT surgeon). And I’ve broken my favourite teapot.
You wouldn’t have thought it possible but things have been made worse by Ms A Jobsworth at HMRC (Fraud and Bespoke Avoidance) in Newcastle who seems to be a woman on a mission to drive me to drink.
My dealings with Ms Jobsworth related to Mr B who wanted me to sort out the long-standing VAT and personal tax disputes he was having with HMRC. Mr B completed the paper version of form 64-8 (‘Authorising your agent’), signed and dated it and sent it directly to HMRC. Not being good with forms he had put an ‘X’ in the Individual Tax Affairs and VAT boxes, rather than the ticks the form asks for, and had omitted his VAT registration number (which Ms Jobsworth, the HMRC officer dealing with matters, already knew as she had quoted it in correspondence). Mr B had given all the other information required.
I then contacted HMRC to discuss Mr B’s tax position and this is how it went:
“I can’t talk to you about Mr B’s VAT affairs because it’s not clear from the form 64-8 he signed that he authorised me to discuss them with you. If he wants me to deal with you, Mr B must provide a fully completed 64-8, ticking the appropriate boxes and inserting reference numbers as appropriate.”
“No. All you need from Mr B is his consent to the disclosure of information you hold about him to me, not a completed form 64-8. This follows from section 18 of the Commissioners for Customs and Revenue Act 2005. Form 64-8 has no statutory basis so consent can be given in other ways.
As a solicitor, I am an officer of the Court and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. There is no way that I would seek information from you without my client’s authority to do so and I am telling you that he consents. In any event, it is perfectly obvious that Mr B has given his consent in relation to VAT matters (and personal tax matters) on form 64-8.
As none of the boxes on form 64-8 had been completed with a tick, why did Mr B send it to you if, by using a cross, he meant that you shouldn’t discuss matters with me? That would have been completely pointless. The only plausible explanation is that he was giving his consent to speak to me about both his personal tax and his VAT affairs.”
The form 64-8 was amended to include Mr B’s only VAT registration number (no other changes were made) re-dated and resent.
Letter from Ms Jobsworth:
‘Thank you for the fully completed form 64-8. Whilst it may appear overly bureaucratic it is vitally important to ensure that proper consents are in place before I am able to discuss a person’s business with a third party.’
Sometimes, you just have to suck it up.
Tax lawyer specialising in business tax, SDLT and VAT