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HM Revenue & Customs have released information of common errors made by employers, to encourage businesses to take care when submitting employee information. The incorrect data leads to mistakes being made, and the wrong amount of tax then being deducted from employees. Among the most common mistakes are the surnames, with ‘Mr Unknown’ or ‘Mr Dummy’ being among the favourites.

When employers don’t have correct information about an employee, they tend to substitute a temporary replacement, like ‘Mr A. N. Other’. The main problem with this is that the information tends to find its way to HMRC. The information containing incorrect or incomplete dates can’t be processed automatically, instead being placed in a queue to be dealt with clerically, using valuable resources of HMRC. The delays can result in incorrect tax codes or other information not being matched to the correct record.

During the 2009-10 tax year, 820 taxpayers were filed with ‘Unknown’ as the surname, while ‘A. N. Other’ was the name for 500 people. The surname can also range from X to XXXXXX, accounting for 572 taxpayers. Just over 100 employees may have been the victim of their employer misreading the paperwork, as job roles have been placed in the surname box. For instance, ‘Mr Casual’ or ‘Mr Student’. Typing errors also play a huge role in incorrect data, with people being labelled as vampires or gods, or even in some cases being more than 200 years old.

The director of customer operations for HMRC, Jim Harra said:

“Around 80 percent of errors in employee data are due to an incorrect name, date of birth or National Insurance number- straightforward information that can be collected and checked quite easily.”

About The Author

Gary Fields

Content Writer working alongside our expert accountants to bring you the latest Tax and Accounting news.

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