Common-sense prevails

Imagine that you have no interest in computers or computing. That Facebook and Twitter sound like racehorses running in the 2.30 at Haydock Park. Further, imagine that the thought of having to deal with computers pushed you into a severe anxiety state.

Ms Naylor, the Company Secretary of a flooring company, fitted this profile. For many years she had filed paper monthly contractor’s returns to HMRC and had never missed a deadline. When the returns were converted to an online filing version from April 2016, she was thrown into the computer age and with unfortunate consequences.

For months she tried to fathom out how to register for online filing and was constantly delayed by the non-arrival of an elusive activation code from HMRC; repeated tries at getting support from various help lines failed to prompt the code to appear in the mail, letterbox mail that is.

With each passing month late filing penalties were accruing, and Ms Naylor’s health started to fail. The anxiety she experienced resulted in visits to her local cardiology clinic for various tests, and still the access code failed to arrive even when the application process was repeated, this time with help from her daughter – newly returned from university.

Eventually, after many months of frustrating delays, she and her daughter managed to complete the login process and file all the outstanding returns.

With what remained of her over-stretched nervous system, Ms Naylor appealed against the multitude of financial fines on the basis she had a reasonable excuse – no knowledge of computers and poor health.

After considering the arguments from both sides, the court ruled to quash the fines, and allowed Ms Naylor’s appeal. Phew… A victory for common-sense.

Apparently, Ms Naylor did not seem to receive much help from her professional advisor. Can we just confirm that any clients reading this post can be assured that we are computer literate and very willing to help if you have problems dealing with the online world.

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