Well I’m not sure about how others view HMRC, but today, despite a 40 minute on hold connection time, I had fantastic service from one of their advisors this morning.
Basically it all involved ensuring my personal tax allowance was implemented against my pension and my salary tax changed to BRX instead of my personal allowance being split between the two. I’ve personally never been able to understand why when folks like me who have a final salary pension, the allowance is then often split between that and a work salary. There’s clearly a reason why that happens, but to me, it just unnecessarily complicates matters.
So, objective achieved and as a bonus, I can see the change immediately via the HMRC app on my phone.
I had a similar issue but, in my case, the personal allowance had been split between my two private pensions! HMRC answered after around 20 minutes and were very polite and efficient. When asked why the personal allowance had been split in this way, the answer was “the computer does that sometimes”. They were quite happy to apply the personal allowance against the larger pension and set the smaller one to BR.
This was last year and they are taking around twice as long to answer at the moment, but are still very good to deal with once you’re talking to somebody.
It will all change again when I start drawing the state pension (another 6 years) because they pay that gross and what’s left of your personal allowance is then applied to the rest of your income.
Is the Future Pensions hotline associated with the State Pension?
I only ask because if you have the HMRC app on your Smart device, you can view what your pension forecast is there. I can see every penny I’ve paid in NI contributions since 1984 and exactly what my State pension will be. As I was contracted out of SERPs for a large portion of my working career, I’ve had to work several more years to qualify for the full weekly amount once I’m old enough to claim it!
I took early retirement partly due to having built up a decent pension but mainly because of ill-health, so it’s more of a case of not having the energy to do paid work any longer. If I was fitter I’d most likely try and get part-time work, to be honest.
From a personal perspective, I memorised my National Insurance number from the day it was issued to me back in 1984. I’ve had to quote it many tens of times throughout my life, either for job changes or when contacting my pension provider. Everyone should be able to spin off their NI number without even thinking about it. Then again, their are folks who don’t even know their vehicle index number despite having owned the same car for years