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Tax official ‘sorry’

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LONDON – Britain’s top tax official has apologised to the 1.4 million people facing an unexpected tax bill.
HM Revenue and Customs Permanent Secretary Dave Hartnett told those who will have to pay an average of £1 428 each he was “deeply sorry”.
Earlier Mr Hartnett had told the BBC he “saw no need” to apologise as tax reconciliation was a routine measure.
But his remarks drew wide criticism from MPs, coalition government sources, pressure groups and taxpayers.
In a statement, Hartnett said: “I apologise if my remarks came across as insensitive.
“I am working flat out with my colleagues to ensure everyone’s tax is correct and the new computer system will help us do this.
“It was this new system that revealed the extent and size of reconciliations required and will help us be more accurate in future, but we do not underestimate the distress caused to taxpayers and once again I apologise.”
Earlier, in an interview with the BBC’s Money Box programme, Hartnett had said he was “not sure” he saw a need to apologise.
He added: “I’ve read the papers, listened to the media and heard stories of HMRC blunder and IT failure. Neither of those are true.
“Every country that I know of that has deduction of tax from wages in salaries has to do a reconciliation at the end of each year and we’re doing one.” (BBC)