This morning millions of people are set to receive letters informing them that they have paid the wrong amount of tax due to a computing error made by HMRC.
It is thought that around 1.4 million people who pay tax through the PAYE system have underpaid due to the mistake, and HMRC are hoping to reclaim an estimated £2 billion by asking them to pay an average figure of around £1,500.
The announcement of the mistake was made last Saturday, and HMRC have stated that the first batch of people will be alerted via mail today (Tuesday 7 September), with the rest being alerted by Christmas. However not everyone will be issued with an unsightly notice asking for more money, 1.4 million people may have underpaid but a further 4.3 million are thought to have overpaid, and these people will receive a rebate of around £418.
A small number of tax errors are commonplace each year, but this drastically high volume of miscalculations is due to an internal error that came about due to the implementation of a new computer system.
Despite the error HMRC insist that the new computer system will lead to greater efficiency in the near future: “There will always be a minority who have paid either too much or too little. Ensuring that the right tax is deducted at source from salaries and pensions is a normal part of the PAYE cycle. This year and going forward the new IT system will mean more people paying exactly the right tax at the time than ever before”, HMRC said in a statement.