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WHSmith blames 'stock error' after selling tax return guide with 2015 info

WHSmith is to stop selling a book that gives readers outdated guidance on how to fill in their tax return, after a sharp-eyed employee of a professional accountancy body spotted it was based on the rules for 2014/2015.

The high street store told on Monday that it was removing the book (pictured right) from its stock system immediately and that it had been on sale "in error".

We challenged WHSmith over the mistake after Phil Hall, head of public affairs and public policy at the Association of Accounting Technicians, first spotted the 'Tax Return Organiser 2014' book on sale for £24.99 at WHSmith's Sevenoaks store this weekend.

And Mr Hall warned anyone following the guidance in the book – which says it is "for completing both 2014 and 2015 tax returns" – could face an HMRC fine, as much of the information in it will now be out of date.

Lots of tax rules and allowances – for example the annual allowance, which is the limit on the amount that can be contributed to your pension each year while still receiving tax relief – have changed significantly over the past few years.

WHSmith said that at the moment it has only confirmed the book was on sale in its Sevenoaks store, as well as online, but it's making sure it isn't being sold elsewhere. 

A spokesperson for the retailer added: "In error this product code had not been removed from our stock system. This is an isolated issue. We take our responsibility for the products we sell very seriously and we are removing this product from sale immediately."

Phil told us: "Selling the public a DIY self-assessment kit that's years out of date beggars belief. There's been various tax changes since then, not least numerous changes to the annual allowance, so any member of the public using these could find themselves getting into a real mess."

For full help on how to complete your tax return correctly and avoid missing any deadlines, see our Self-assessment tax returns guide.

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