You won’t believe this hack!

I recently got a cheque for over £1200 from HMRC for “overpaid corporation tax”. Wahoo! Free money!

Unfortunately, as much as I just wanted to cash the cheque and forget about it, I knew there was something wrong. After a bit of rummaging through my records I realised that the amount overpaid was exactly the same as the amount I’ve just paid to HMRC for my latest PAYE bill. I keep detailed records of everything I do so I noticed that I had decided to make that PAYE payment by direct bank transfer this month using Lloyds online banking. If you make a direct transfer to HMRC, it is important you set the transaction reference correctly so that they know what the money is for (PAYE, Corporation Tax etc.). My notes said I used the correct reference so I checked my bank statement and there was the mistake. It had gone to my Corporation Tax account reference.
I took another look at the Lloyds website for transferring money and clicked the help tooltip for the reference field:

Lloyds screenshot

Yes. That’s right. Changing the contents of the reference text field makes no difference. If you’re transferring money to someone you’ve paid before it will ignore the reference use the reference you used the first time. The “solution” is to create another copy of the same recipient.

What are Lloyds playing at? They acknowledge “for technical reasons” (a.k.a. “someone screwed up”). Why bother adding that tooltip instead of disabling the textfield? I think this is a serious bug and had I not noticed it, I could have got in trouble with HMRC for not paying my PAYE in time.

Sort it out Lloyds.