Home Money St James’s Place paid £213,000 to HMRC for my inheritance tax bill – but it disappeared – SALLY ORDERS IT

St James’s Place paid £213,000 to HMRC for my inheritance tax bill – but it disappeared – SALLY ORDERS IT

0 comment
SJP was asked to transfer an Isa balance of £213,197 to HMRC, which said it had not received the money.

I am desperate with the St James’s Place wealth manager. I am the executor of my friend’s estate and he had investments in the company.

There is a hefty inheritance tax bill of £800,000 to pay on his estate due to various properties and shares he owned.

I contacted SJP in December 2023 and asked him to close his Isa and transfer the balance (£213,197) to HM Revenue & Customs to cover the bill.

SJP wrote to confirm that they had successfully completed the transaction in January this year.

SJP was asked to transfer an Isa balance of £213,197 to HMRC, which said it had not received the money.

But when I contacted HMRC in February, I was shocked to find that they had not received the money.

Calling the SJP on the same day, he admitted that he had put the wrong reference number on the payment. He apologized and said he would rectify the mistake.

Five weeks later, after making several phone calls, an official complaint, and emailing the CEO, I have no update on where the money is.

I am concerned because I have nothing written to indicate that SJP made a mistake. Please help. AP, Essex

Sally Hamilton responds: I can only imagine the sinking feeling that must have overcome him when he discovered that more than £213,000 had disappeared into the ether and no one seemed able to assure him of its whereabouts.

The payment reference error is now delaying probate to your friend’s estate, as at least part of the inheritance tax bill must be paid before probate is granted.

Therefore, you are also stalling the sale of your friend’s property (the law says that property belonging to a deceased person cannot be sold until the probate process is complete).

It is also causing you great concern that interest will soon be applied to your inheritance tax bill if it is not credited in time.

When someone dies and owes inheritance tax (which normally applies at 40 per cent on a person’s estate worth more than £325,000), interest is charged from the first day of the seventh month after the death.

This means that starting May 1, if the tax bill is still not paid, an interest charge of 7.75 percent will apply.

On an £800,000 note, the charge could be substantial.

On March 14, I requested the JJP to investigate as a matter of urgency, to which they agreed.

With some additional nudges along the way, he finally returned on March 28 with an explanation of the events.

He confirmed that the payment of £213,197 had been made to HMRC on January 4, but that he had not included the correct reference number in the transaction and, although the money had been sent, HMRC had been unable to locate the funds.

To address his concerns about the looming deadline, he made a second payment for the same amount on March 18, four days after I contacted the company. He said he was now applying to HMRC for a refund of the original sum.

A spokesperson says: ‘We apologize to AP for any unnecessary inconvenience and inconvenience caused at an already difficult time. We recognize that we should have fixed it sooner, once the error was identified.

‘In the circumstances we have offered a payment of £500 for the inconvenience and inconvenience caused.

“In addition, if additional costs were incurred as a direct result of our error and subsequent delay, we have offered to cover those costs as well.”

I may have disappointed you at first, but congratulations to SJP for making the second payment on their own and putting you out of your misery before the interest clock started ticking.

He still wanted to know where the first amount of money had gone. I asked HMRC to investigate and explain what happens to payments that disappear without permission.

An HMRC spokesperson says: ‘We can track and match payments made without a correct reference, but this depends on the information sent with the payment.

“If a customer believes a payment has been sent with an incorrect or missing reference, we encourage them to contact us directly.”

The spokesperson explained that payments received with incorrect or missing reference numbers end up in a central account.

Efforts are then made to match them manually. HMRC says funds can usually be allocated to the correct account if an executor contacts the correct reference.

This might have resolved things sooner, but you didn’t know that, and apparently they hadn’t told you when you asked what was going on with HMRC.

To reassure others in its position, HMRC said that if the original payment is made on time, as in your case, no interest will be charged even if a mistake is made and the money is missing due to incorrect reference information.

He told me he was delighted the matter was resolved and, as a thank you for my intervention, he kindly offered a donation to the Marfan Trust, a charity I support.

Why won’t Eon Next give me a smart meter?

I want to have a smart meter installed so I can benefit from one of my supplier’s best rates, which is available to those who want to charge an electric vehicle.

For 18 months I have been calling Eon Next repeatedly trying to set it up.

Each time they give me a different reason why it can’t be done. On the last occasion I was told it was because I had the wrong type of gas meter and asked me to contact National Grid to change it.

National Grid told me this was not necessary. It doesn’t make sense that my gas meter is delaying the installation of my electric meter. Please help. NG, Wandsworth, London.

Sally Hamilton responds: You explained that a few years ago you had to replace the gas main coming into your home because it was not large enough to supply the amount of gas you needed for the size of your single-family home.

This also meant that it was necessary to have a different meter than the usual one, the one normally installed in companies.

But as you said in your letter, you were wondering why Eon Next, which supplies your electricity and gas, was having problems with this, as the two types of meters are separate devices.

I contacted Eon Next on their behalf to see if they could resolve the issue. I did not receive an acknowledgment but my contact clearly prompted the smart meter team to act as Eon Next contacted you shortly afterwards and within days the electricity smart meter was installed.

Turns out their suspicions were correct: their gas meter was causing the blockage.

Because the type of gas meter is technically that used in commercial premises, Eon Next assumed that you must be a commercial electricity user and therefore the agreement for the residential tariff did not apply.

To take advantage of this offer, I expected customers to have a smart home meter for both gas and electricity.

Eon Next managed to overcome this hurdle and allowed you to take advantage of the rate you wanted.

When we caught up, you said you were happy with your new smart meter and that it helped you identify ways to reduce your electricity consumption.

You said your family had reduced their consumption from 750 W to 450 W per hour by changing light bulbs and using appliances more efficiently. You’re still researching options for an electric vehicle.

money" data-version="2" id="mol-f92e6270-fbf5-11ee-8f03-e92a3afe613e" data-permabox-url="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/mailplus/article-13313963/SALLY-SORTS-Help-money-paid-HMRC-gone-missing-going-charge-interest.html">

Can Sally Sorts It help you?

Do you have a consumer problem you need help with? Email Sally Hamilton at sally@dailymail.co.uk; include the phone number, address, and a note addressed to the offending organization giving them permission to speak with Sally Hamilton.

Please do not send original documents as we cannot be responsible for them.

The Daily Mail or This is Money cannot accept any legal responsibility for the answers given.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them, we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

You may also like