As a result of the complicated system, many on the lowest incomes are having to pay a 40 per cent rate of tax and then having to wait for weeks, or even months, to be refunded due to backlogs at HM Revenue and Customs, meaning that many are getting into serious debt.
“This HMRC cock-up is affecting the poorest and most vulnerable people,” Patrick Millard, director of Tax Help for Older People told the Daily Mail.
“The government is taking thousands of pounds off people who need every penny.”
Part of the problem is that many post offices are not stocking the P53 tax rebate forms in the first place, meaning that pensioners have to wait several days, or even weeks, before they can even apply for a rebate, the charity concluded.
According to the latest annual report from Help the Aged, 43 per cent of all pensioners who are entitled to claim council tax benefit fail to do so, while one in three of those on the lowest incomes spends more than ten per cent of their income on council tax.
In addition, the report also revealed that more than a quarter of elderly people claim that their quality of life has worsened over the past year, with one in five now living in poverty, with many burdened by debt.