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Advice about parent in denial

CN1968

New member
Sep 17, 2021
6
0
I hope this might be the right place I can post my query. At 76, my father was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment at a memory clinic earlier this year. Most day to day issues are being dealt with and manageanle but there is an increasing problem with his relations with HMRC.

For about twenty years now he has completed tax returns for both himself and my mother, but over the last three years mistakes have been made and fines issued. It is very hard to get a clear sense of how he is progressing with these tax returns and he refuses any help.

However, now that a very large fine has been issued (actually on my mother's tax return, not his), I feel it is time to seek help. He believes he is up to date with returns and payments but that, needless to say, isn't the case, but nor does my father see that it might not be the HMRC at fault. Obviously I can't call the HMRC and discuss it with them, as they won't discuss either account with me. With that in mind, can any one shed any light on how to progress with this sort of issue?

Thank you very much.
 

Banjomansmate

Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
3,080
0
Dorset
What you need is Lasting Power of Attorney to be in place, is there any way you can convince both of your parents to agree to granting these? This would at least give you the authority to discuss matters with HMRC and eventually help your parents with all sorts of problems. Dementia doesn’t have to be mentioned, the risk of them being hospitalised due to Covid-19 could be used as a lever.
For The Banjoman I used the possibility of accident or a stroke meaning a hospital stay as a reason for putting them in place. The added incentive that without one for finance the OPG would charge a lot of money to run his affairs if needed, was the tipping point.;)
 

Marler19

Registered User
May 16, 2021
41
0
Would he accept the help of an accountant ‘who is an expert on sorting out the messes HMRC have made’ and ‘has been recommended to you by a trusted relative’? This happened to my mother who was just putting tax stuff in a drawer and got in a terrible mess. I brought in a ‘special accountant’ (actually a friend’s recommended long term accountant) and she sorted things out and mum was relieved. Possibly if you give the person ‘expert status’ that might work. Does HMRC have any sort of ‘vulnerable person’ department? They should! Banks do!!
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
2,026
0
High Peak
You can certainly phone HMRC and ask for advice. This must happen a lot. Obviously they can't discuss your parents' tax affairs as such but they can certainly put a flag on his file, etc, and I have no doubt they will have some suggestions. As @Banjomansmate says, they will suggest you get Power of Attorney and take over your parents' finances.

From what you've said about your father refusing help I imagine this will be difficult! Maybe suggest it as being for your mum's benefit, as what would she do if anything happened to your dad? But you need to come up with something to get him to do the PoA - it will be vital going forwards and, sadly, things will only get worse.
 

jzw01

Registered User
Jun 12, 2021
127
0
From my own experience with my own tax payments I would recommend some professional help, tax accountants have a better line of contact with HMRC than us normal people.

The other possibility would be the local Citizens Advice people, who are free and can be very helpful.
 

CN1968

New member
Sep 17, 2021
6
0
What you need is Lasting Power of Attorney to be in place, is there any way you can convince both of your parents to agree to granting these? This would at least give you the authority to discuss matters with HMRC and eventually help your parents with all sorts of problems. Dementia doesn’t have to be mentioned, the risk of them being hospitalised due to Covid-19 could be used as a lever.
For The Banjoman I used the possibility of accident or a stroke meaning a hospital stay as a reason for putting them in place. The added incentive that without one for finance the OPG would charge a lot of money to run his affairs if needed, was the tipping point.;)
Thank you for your reply. A few years ago my father did set up a LPA for himself, although not my mother. However, as he is unwilling to acknowledge there is a problem, and no authority has deemed himself unfit to manage his own affairs, I seem a bit stuck. But there may be something else I could do, and if you had thoughts on that I'd be very grateful. Thanks again.
 

CN1968

New member
Sep 17, 2021
6
0
From my own experience with my own tax payments I would recommend some professional help, tax accountants have a better line of contact with HMRC than us normal people.

The other possibility would be the local Citizens Advice people, who are free and can be very helpful.
Thank you. Unfortunately he is very resistant to an accountant as he has always done the tax himself and refuses to see he could have done anything wrong. I shall contact the CAB though.
 

CN1968

New member
Sep 17, 2021
6
0
Would he accept the help of an accountant ‘who is an expert on sorting out the messes HMRC have made’ and ‘has been recommended to you by a trusted relative’? This happened to my mother who was just putting tax stuff in a drawer and got in a terrible mess. I brought in a ‘special accountant’ (actually a friend’s recommended long term accountant) and she sorted things out and mum was relieved. Possibly if you give the person ‘expert status’ that might work. Does HMRC have any sort of ‘vulnerable person’ department? They should! Banks do!!
I'm sure this must happen a lot so and so yes an HMRC vulnerable person contact would be very useful. I'll see if I can track something down.
 

CN1968

New member
Sep 17, 2021
6
0
You can certainly phone HMRC and ask for advice. This must happen a lot. Obviously they can't discuss your parents' tax affairs as such but they can certainly put a flag on his file, etc, and I have no doubt they will have some suggestions. As @Banjomansmate says, they will suggest you get Power of Attorney and take over your parents' finances.

From what you've said about your father refusing help I imagine this will be difficult! Maybe suggest it as being for your mum's benefit, as what would she do if anything happened to your dad? But you need to come up with something to get him to do the PoA - it will be vital going forwards and, sadly, things will only get worse.
Thank you. I shall contact HMRC.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,138
0
Thank you for your reply. A few years ago my father did set up a LPA for himself, although not my mother. However, as he is unwilling to acknowledge there is a problem, and no authority has deemed himself unfit to manage his own affairs, I seem a bit stuck. But there may be something else I could do, and if you had thoughts on that I'd be very grateful. Thanks again.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be used immediately although it has to be registered with the OPG. So if not registered, do that at once, it will take them weeks and weeks to return it to you.

There is a common misconception that capacity has to be assessed by an expert or specialist. It doesn't. You are probably the best person to determine capacity as you know your father well. Having said that it sounds as if he may not have lost capacity yet - but he may well do in the future so be prepared.

I agree with the suggestions about getting an accountant to help. An accountant aims to save money for the client and as he is being fined by HMRC there may well be a substantial saving from getting it right and I think others are right when they say that a professional might be more acceptable to him than a member of the family.
 

Old Flopsy

Registered User
Sep 12, 2019
267
0
Hi @CN1968. I worked in the Inland Revenue for many years then as a tax adviser for over 30 years till I retired,.

I also did voluntary work for the charity Tax Help for Older People (TOPS)- this involved seeing clients in a tax surgery set up by AgeUK at their office, or more often, I used to visit the client at their home.

I was able to use my skills to sort out many complex issues with the Inland Revenue- I was like a dog with a rag and wouldn't give up the fight lol!

The imposition of 'a very large fine' fills me with alarm! This should not be happening- it seems so unfair. I have been instrumental in getting such fines cancelled in many cases. TOPS has a fast track phone line to dedicated persons in the Inland Revenue to get problems sorted out quickly.

Would your father accept help if the fines could be cancelled?

Rather than CAB I feel you should contact TOPS on 0845 601 3321. The website is www.taxvol.org.uk.
 

CN1968

New member
Sep 17, 2021
6
0
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be used immediately although it has to be registered with the OPG. So if not registered, do that at once, it will take them weeks and weeks to return it to you.

There is a common misconception that capacity has to be assessed by an expert or specialist. It doesn't. You are probably the best person to determine capacity as you know your father well. Having said that it sounds as if he may not have lost capacity yet - but he may well do in the future so be prepared.

I agree with the suggestions about getting an accountant to help. An accountant aims to save money for the client and as he is being fined by HMRC there may well be a substantial saving from getting it right and I think others are right when they say that a professional might be more acceptable to him than a member of the family.
This is all very helpful, thank you.
 

Scarlet Lady

Registered User
Apr 6, 2021
63
0
Hi, @CN1968 . I agree with everyone that getting an LPA in place is the way forward, but in terms of dealing with HMRC, it’s fairly straightforward. Like @Old Flopsy, I’m a retired tax professional (lovely to meet another member of old Inland Revenue family! ) Back in the day, I was very familiar with a form called a 64-8, which was used to authorise an agent to act on your behalf. Didn't have to be a professional person. This form still exists, and can be done online. It does still need the agreement of the person whose tax affairs it covers and that might be a problem for you, but have a look a the link on the gov,U.K. website.
Hope it helps, assuming I can paste it correctly!
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
6,053
0
Chester
Just to add that you now have to register as a trusted helper before someone can appoint you to act for them using a 64-8. There are links on the page @Scarlet Lady
provided. This was brought in a few years back as part of trying to regulate rogue agents.

If this is the 3rd year returns haven't been sent in that sounds a possible reason for a large penalty with daily penalties accruing. It may well be he hasn't actually filed any returns for a few years.

HMRC now have a lot of info on their systems from all the banks and pensions payments so if he has left something off this could trigger a fine. It could be a bank account he has forgotten about (It's taken years but HMRC now have fully automated checks and query if there is a discrepancy)

A fairly simple appeal letter stating your dad's issues should clear it. HMRC are dont quibble in these circumstances based on colleagues comments. Getting poa is ideal but a 64-8 might give access more quickly. I understand for self assessment once the code sent through the post is entered you get access in 24 hours (HMRC system updates overnight )
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,138
0
All the comments in this thread are sensible but may I suggest that the core issue here is not exactly what needs to be done as regards HMRC but how to get this gentleman to accept that he should have help? It is a not-uncommon issue in dementia care, and a difficult one. Can anyone help on that?