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How do you deal with HMRC with disabilities + restricted records? (Self-employed)

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Stellar
Stellar Community member Posts: 131 Pioneering
see title.

i'm having a nightmare

i sent off a form to them to register self-employment. my start date was put down as the 1st feb and i sent it off a month ago but i've heard nothing back. i need the letter so i can open my business bank account so i can start trading. trying to get this all sorted is overwhelming me and i need help. i fear this is what dealing with them is going to be like longer term.

my unique barriers are:
- i cannot contact them using the phone due to my disabilities
- my records are restricted so it means only managers can see them, which often means waiting for a call back. I cannot unrestrict them without further bureaucracy, month of stress and money I do not have, do not ask.
- do not have anyone who can advocate on my behalf
- the service i'm meant to be under helping me don't know themselves (they even told me they were going to ask on twitter after they couldn't find a public email address, if i dont laugh at how silly this is i'll cry)

i don't know what to do.

i know the extra support team exists but only because i did my own research out of desperation. i'm so depressed and desperate to start working but if i cant get this sorted i will sign off as unfit. 

i really need advice asap. where can i get info on this online? where are guides from other di9sabled people on how they've dealt with them?

Comments

  • MarkM88
    MarkM88 Community member Posts: 3,127 Connected
    edited February 2022
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     Could you write a letter chasing this up? 
  • _witchcore
    _witchcore Community member Posts: 32 Connected
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    When I split with my ex husband we agreed he could claim child tax credits as he wasn't working. A mistake was made at HMRC and they awarded him tax credits from when my daughter was born. He took the money and said nothing. They decided to claim the full 7k back from me for money they had paid towards her day nursery costs. The actual overpayment period was about 2 weeks, from when I told them to stop paying me.

    I tried to sort it out via phone but nobody could help. People I spoke to were unhelpful, not knowledgeable, unkind, indifferent, lazy... One person was really jolly and enthusiastic but they missed out important details on their records so my query went mostly unanswered. It felt like there was no accountability. What made it worse is that my ex husband had recently left a job at HMRC and so nobody could access his records to sort it all out.

    Like yourself, I found out about the Extra Support Team. They spoke to me a but more nicely but that's about the only positive thing I can say really. They didn't seem to have any special powers that the other teams have, except to put debts on hold while the matter is resolved. There is no point in doing this if they can't resolve the matter.

    In the end I realised I was wasting my time trying to explain what had happened and I made a customer service complaint in writing. I asked them to resolve the problem. About a week later, a customer service advisor called me. They had reissued my overpayment notification and apologised. They also sent me a cheque as compensation. I agree with the comment above about writing to them. It's the only way that important small details don't get missed and you can tell them what's happened and what you need from them without being interrupted or ignored. I think it gives the person dealing with the query less room to make a mistake and more time to deal with the matter if they aren't conscious about how much time they spend on the call.


  • Stellar
    Stellar Community member Posts: 131 Pioneering
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    sorry that happened to you witchcore.

    I've thought about writing to them, however I don't know where to write to. Do I write to Public Department 1 (where i sent the form to as was requested) or Special Section D? (the HMRC department that deals with restricted records)
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community member Posts: 16,143 Disability Gamechanger
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    You can start trading with a personal bank account, tho it's easier perhaps with a business account, to keep your personal account separate, tho you definitely need to have a business account if trading as a Limited Company.
    If you start up a business as a sole trader, then you don't have to register with HMRC if you earned less than £1000 from such self employment in the last tax year (April 2020-April 2021) unless you need to prove that you're self employed. Please see: https://www.gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader
    You mention you don't have anyone to advocate on your behalf, but perhaps having an accountant may help? I know our accountant on occasion contacted HMRC on our behalf, but having an accountant, altho not necessary, is worth having IMHO. If you are prepared to do your own book-keeping with simple accounts as to your expenditure & profit, they don't charge too much.
    Can you not open a business account with the usual proof of identity & address? There are other options such as purely digital banking. Please see here for some options & ideas; the pros & cons: https://startups.co.uk/banking/how-to-open-a-business-bank-account/
    I've been looking into your problems re: communication, & wonder if this may help: https://www.relayuk.bt.com/about-relay-uk.html
    Just from sort of personal experience, as my eldest daughter told me not so long ago, she was also able to discuss matters with the HMRC via a chat. She kept the conversation on her phone so she could verify the chat if needed, tho it wasn't. Hoping some of this helps.



  • Stellar
    Stellar Community member Posts: 131 Pioneering
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    I need a bank account so i can maintain personal / professional boundaries which is vital for my mental health and so i can manage my money better. i would find it too overwhelming having personal and professional mixed together.

    i have no idea how to source an accountant and don't have the money to pay one. might be something for me to return to when i got off the ground a bit.

    because my records are restricted, the person on the other end won't be able to access my file. they literally see a blank screen, so somebody of a more senior level would have to call me back. it creates delays. using text relay or an advocate wont make a difference. it's the same regardless of method.

    i apologise if this comes across as rebuffing well intentioned advice and being defeatist, but i've already exhausted most of my options. i manged to contact them myself on the extra support webchat but have to wait for a call back. i've got no choice but to take it.
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community member Posts: 16,143 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 2022
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    Hi @Stellar - no problem. Having been self employed for more years than I care to remember, I just thought I'd say from my personal experience. I agree, as I said above, that having a business account, thus keeping a personal account separate, is better.
    I'm pleased you've managed to contact HMRC. I had thought that Relay UK might be an option, however appreciate your circumstances made this unviable, unfortunately.
    About finding an accountant, start here: https://www.icaew.com/about-icaew/find-a-chartered-accountant
    As you will see, some provide a free initial consultation. As I mentioned, if you keep simple expenditure & income accounts yourself, their services don't cost too much per annum, & of course you normally pay them at the end of a financial year after submitting your accounts. To give you an idea, the past couple of years ours was £91 p.a., & that included filing tax returns to HMRC for both of us, as we were business partners.
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