A blunder by HMRC that saw it change its bank account details without telling anyone has left tens of millions of pounds in tax unpaid by businesses.
VAT and corporation tax payments by businesses have bounced or gone unpaid as the tax office failed to notify firms it had changed its payment details, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The figure for unpaid tax could rise much higher, with experts saying initial estimates are likely to be the “tip of the iceberg”.
In February HMRC changed the payment details for those paying by IBAN, which affects mainly overseas businesses.
Despite claiming it notified businesses, others say the revenue service did not, meaning payments were rejected and businesses were issued with late payment notices.
Tina Riches, a partner at Smith and Williamson, says: “The change certainly seemed to have been poorly managed as businesses have not had sufficient warning.
“These cases may just be the tip of the iceberg as although there was some advance notice in a couple of HMRC publications, those notices did not include the vital BAN number businesses need to make payments.”
A HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC’s move to a new bank will be invisible to most customers, who will not need to do anything different when sending payment to HMRC.
“Customers paying from overseas will need to update their payment details. Anyone experiencing difficulties in making payments should contact HMRC immediately.”