Officials have agreed not to pursue dozens of ex-miners who had not paid enough tax, says a miners’ leader.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) launched an investigation after Durham Miners’ Association raised concerns about the number of members who had been issued with demands for underpayment of tax.
Some members were told they owed as much as £2,000.
HMRC concluded that the underpayments had arisen because assumption had been made in relation to how much contribution-based Employment Support Allowance former miners had received.
The figures were too low which meant there was an underpayment of tax.
Alan Cummings, chairman of Durham Miners’ Association, said he held discussions with senior tax office staff regarding the underpayment and it was agreed that HMRC would not pursue the money owed in these cases.
Mr Cummings said the demands had come as a shock to former miners, many of whom were on low incomes and would have faced hardship through no fault of their own had they had to pay.
He added: “This has caused a lock of shock and concern among people who aren’t on much money.
“It has affected people who are often on particularly low incomes and maybe aren’t in the best of health.
The former miner contacted Easington MP Grahame Morris asking him for help.
Mr Cummings said an article would be included in a forthcoming Durham Miners’ Newsletter requesting members to check that their weekly Employment Support Allowance payments matched the figures that HMRC are using.
The problem appeared to affect former miners who were in receipt of contribution-based employment support allowance and were also receiving a mineworkers’ pension.
Mr Cummings said in previous years tax was taken from the employment support allowance through the PAYE system without problems.
Any member who has already paid the tax underpayment demand should contact Mr Cummings at the area office with their details.
A spokesman for HMRC said they could not comment on individual cases.
Source – Northern Echo, 07 Nov 2014