3 April 1998

Tax demands hiccup

FARMERS faced with extra income tax demands, despite paying adequate first instalments by the end of January, should not panic.

Accountants say many farmers have received Inland Revenue letters demanding extra tax with interest, threats of court proceedings and even seizure of goods if they do not pay within seven days.

One West Country farmer and his accountant, anticipating much lower profits this tax year, drew up accurate budgets and appealed last November against the Inland Revenues routine estimate of the first instalment.

That figure was included on the self-assessment form and paid in full in January. In mid-March the Inland Revenue demanded a further several thousand £s, and a week later threatened action if payment was not made within seven days.

The November appeal form and the self-assessment form were ignored, says the farmers accountants, claiming many other clients received similar treatment. North Cornwall MP Paul Tyler (Lib Dem) has complained to Treasury minister Geoffrey Robinson about the Revenues actions.

The Inland Revenue says farmers should ring their local tax office customer services section to delay threatened action. The Inland Revenue will apologise if it has made a mistake. But the accountant concerned told his client the advice was "a joke" – in reality, the Inland Revenue was snowed under. &#42