View more on these topics

HMRC says don’t rely on its pensions data

HM Revenue & Customs has admitted that some of its pension systems are suffering “widespread” problems and as a result some of the data it has provided “should not be relied upon”.

In a letter responding to a freedom of information request by AJ Bell for data on the lifetime allowance, HMRC says: “Pension scheme services is experiencing systems difficulties in collating intermediate level of detail in some areas. It is now clear that these problems may be more widespread.

“IT is currently investigating this but it means the data we have already provided should not be relied upon. Until we are comfortable the data we produce is correct, it would be wrong to provide further summaries which may present a misleading and unreliable picture.”

In an open letter to Chancellor George Osborne, AJ Bell chief executive Andy Bell flags up the deficiencies.

He says HMRC as well as the Treasury are “unable to cope” with the recent spate of changes to pension rules.

Bell says: “Our attempts to calculate the impact of many of the previous government’s pension policies have revealed that the Treasury and HMRC are unable to cope with the irresponsible volume of change.

“We have submitted a number of FOI requests asking for fairly basic statistics. We have been provided with incomplete answers and have had to point out inaccuracies with the information provided.”

AJ Bell also used the open letter to urge Osborne to stop tinkering with the pension system and design a long-term sustainable framework for saving and encouraging private provision.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says: “It is disappointing to find that we cannot rely on the information provided by the people who are employed to manage our taxes.”

McPhail says that given the proposed public sector cuts under the new Government, this problem is only likely to get worse.

He adds: “In the meantime, the new Government is trying to formulate a pension policy without knowing what all the numbers are.”

An HMRC spokeswoman says: “The issues referred to in this correspondence relate only to access to some of the underlying statistical information. They do not affect live running of the system and have no impact on external users.”

The news comes just weeks after HMRC apologised after incorrectly telling LV= that income drawdown investors could switch providers or buy an annuity before the age of 55 without facing an unauthorised payment charge.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Give everyone responsible a bonus – that’ll make them think twice about their incompetence.

  2. Maybe the Pensions Regulator should investigate applying its own guidance and Rules!

  3. Norm d' Plume 3rd June 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Maybe we should fine them £400 for every time they send the information late, with increasing fines if they persist!

  4. BUZZINGSTREET 7th July 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Dear Visitor,
    Thanks for visiting this nice and useful blog. As many events are about to happen soon. So we just want to share few things with all visitors as it might be helpful for everyone.

    NSE and BSE are trading in range and we are expecting breakout in the market after budget. One should buy quality stocks at every decline and should exit long positions at every rise.


    Stock market investment if done with proper research and updated knowledge than it can give very lucrative results. There are four basic golden rules of stock market which are to be followed

    We will be discussing the various benefits of speed trading and its various coefficients using which one can make the most out of their investments in the Indian stock market including both Nifty and Sensex (NSE and BSE)

  5. sharetipsinfo 8th July 2010 at 7:22 am

    Stock market is a place where people can earn money and can loose quick money. Still if we see on the positive side many investors have changed there fortune just by investing money in the stock market. Now the question is how come one can earn money from stock market?

    One should make it clear that by any mean stock market is not for gambling. Stock market investments require lot of hard core research. Any investment in share market if done with proper research can be fruitful else no one knows if it’s done based on speculation. Now another question is from where to get all the information. Well for that one can start reading newspaper, following good stock market sites, watch out NSE and BSE closely and use internet as major tool for research off course with many technical analysis tools and fundamental data.



Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm