Pensioner 'received £200,000 tax bill due to wrong tax code'

A 90-year old pensioner contemplated taking his own life after he received an erroneous tax bill for nearly £200,000, based on a projected annual income of more than £3.2 million. George Taylor, from Southport, received the tax demand from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in June, just two months after the death of his wife. 

The couple had not had children so Mr Taylor was forced to contact HMRC himself and was told there had been a tax code error. However, it was only the following month - after three letters and six hours on the phone - that the former fireman finally received the right code and the information that he was in fact owed a £16.60 refund. 

Describing the situation, Mr Taylor said, “It was a hard time, if I’m honest, I seriously considered committing suicide. I had just lost my wife and then this happened. Every code that came on each letter seemed to be wrong." He said the lesson was that everyone should always check the tax code on any correspondence they get from HMRC and not assume it is correct.