The Inland Revenue has accidentally deleted an unknown number of taxpayers’ records as part of a routine database administration process.
Despite a year-long investigation, the Inland Revenue has yet to give an indication of how many records were deleted or who might have owed money at the time or might have been due repayments before their files were removed.
It said the number of taxpayers whose records were deleted might have been small, but it accepted that, equally, it could have been many hundreds of thousands.
The deletions were made on the Pay-As-You-Earn database. It may affect PAYE taxpayers and also those employees who receive income without tax being deducted.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents staff at the Inland Revenue, said restoring each taxpayer record after it has been accidentally deleted was a “complicated and expensive process”.
A PCS spokesman said the work to reinstate records which are identified as deleted, if ever that happens, will add to the workload of tax staff who are under increasing pressure because those that leave are not being replaced.