Treasury officials have apologised after letters were sent out by mistake to staff at a Ramsey opticians wrongly suggesting employees’ National Insurance contributions had not been paid.
Keith Wild, director at Patricia Wild Optometrist, said the letters had caused concern among the practice’s staff.
He said: ‘The letters went to employees but not to us, the employer. It caused a bit of consternation to staff and extra work for our bookkeeper. When we queried it we were told that the cause has been discovered to be a computer glitch.’
Assessor of income tax Nicola Guffogg apologised for the error and revealed some 80 incorrect letters had been sent.
She said: ‘In this particular case the Division has made an error. As soon as the Division is aware of an error we write to the employees informing them the contributions from their employer have been recorded on the National Insurance record and that they need take no further action.
‘I understand that this will have caused the employees and employer concern and I am very sorry about this. The Division does endeavour to minimise the number of incorrect letters going out. At least the letters do make sure that any mistakes come to light quickly and not when the individual makes a claim to benefit that could then be refused.’
Mrs Guffogg explained that each year the Income Tax Division sends out some 6-7,000 letters to individuals letting them know they have not got a qualifying year for benefit purposes.
She said: ‘While most recipients of these letters have not paid enough NI contributions in the tax year in question, occasionally the reason for the letter being issued is because contributions they have paid have not been recorded on their NI record either because the employer has failed to comply with their obligations, or the Division has not processed the return correctly.
‘Of the 6-7,000 letters sent about 80 were incorrect this year.’