A victim of the flooding which hit Todmorden three years ago is battling to sort out a tax bill dating to then from which she has now been threatened with action by bailiffs.
Kathleen Simpson of Knowlwood Bottom, off Rochdale Road, Todmorden, lost many possessions when her home was hit during the June 22, 2012 flood which devastated the town.
I feel like I have done everything I was required to doKathleen Simpson
At the time Kathleen was doing some work as a freelance tutor for people with dyslexia, teaching reading and spelling with the help of a laptop in her students’ homes.
Her income tax form for 2011-2012 was due to be submitted by the end of July that year and she was in the process of gathering together the final few weeks’ receipts and the like for submission when the storms hit that day, she said.
“Receipts and all my work diaries were destroyed in the floods. I had it all ready to post when the last few weeks to the end of June would have been added,” she said.
Many of Kathleen’s belongings were left a sodden, muddy mess on the lawn of her home after the flood, and she made the national news headlines when she “doorstepped” Prime Minister David Cameron when he visited the town in the aftermath of the devastation.
Kathleen admits that with so much going on after the flooding it was not at the forefront of her mind, and around October 2012 she received a demand from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for £925, then writing back to explain what had happened.
Correspondence between Kathleen and HMRC ensued, including a letter she wrote to customs chief Lin Homer, which continues to this day, the amount rising with added costs and several weeks ago a letter from bailiffs saying they would take from her home goods to the value in hand if the bill was not settled.
Kathleen says she has made numerous attempts to settle the issue, including seeking advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau and now an organisation called Tax Help for Older People.
But what puzzles her more is that, she later discovered, her accountant had submitted the majority of that year’s accounts online and she does have a receipt with code number saying her accounts had been received 100 per cent complete.
The issue has been brought to a head with the bailiff’s letter and Kathleen said she was at her wit’s end with the strain of sorting the matter out.
“They have the figure as I sent off my best estimates to them when I wrote to the chief executive, and it transpires my accountant actually submitted my accounts online.
“I feel like I have done everything I was required to do,” she said.
A spokesperson for HMRC said that they were unable to discuss individual cases - but the department would look into what has happened.