Following a number of reports from agents on the Agent Forum and other channels of postal problems in respect of late filing notices, HMRC have investigated the problem and issued the ATT and other professional bodies with the following statement today (22 April 2021).
We sincerely apologise for the recent security breach and recognise that this is not in line with our Charter standards. We take all aspects of protecting data very seriously so there has been a lot of activity to understand this incident and mitigate future risks. We have received the following report on what happened and what action has been taken as a result:
Background & Recap
We became aware of an issue with SA326D Penalty Notices 23rd March. We identified that this was down to a software problem with the underlying cause of this issue linked to testing. The issue is limited only to SA326Ds bulk run.
What do we understand now about impacts?
We know that the majority of agents received the correct information and following extraction of data from the affected files we believe the total affected number to be just above 32k.
- The total number of taxpayers impacted is 32,075
- 18,496 UTRs/taxpayers notices went to the wrong agent
- 13,579 UTRs/Taxpayers went to the correct agent
- 15,459 agents received incorrect envelopes (getting a wrong letter or they don’t know that their letter went to another agent)
- Two taxpayers have received a copy that contains five Agent copies in total for other taxpayers
We re-issued the copy notices to agents.
We have issued guidance to Personal Tax Operations and Agent Helpline colleagues. We have posted updates to Agent Forum and informed Accounting Web.
We have been assured following the data interrogation carried out by IT colleagues that the total number of incorrect notices sent to Agents is just over 18k.
We are holding an after-action review to understand what went wrong and how we can make sure it doesn’t happen again."
Update 26 April 2021: HMRC have confirmed to us that any notices which have not already been securely destroyed should be returned to SA326D, Central Mail Unit, S1250, Benton Park View, Longbenton, Newcastle, NE98 1ZZ.