My mother is 90 years old and in very poor health. I have power of attorney to look after all her financial affairs, including tax.
As well as my mother’s current and savings accounts with Santander, to which I have online access, she also has a savings investment with what is now known as the Investment Hub.
I asked for the necessary information from Santander in order to complete the 2017/18 tax return. Santander said it was not immediately available but would be in August.
I rang Santander after that and was told I would receive a letter within a couple of weeks with the information I needed. Nothing happened and I couldn’t access the information online via the Santander website.
Nicholas Robinson, London
You fill in your mother’s tax returns on paper, for which the submission deadline is Oct 31. Mindful of this, you wrote to me for help.
Investment Hub is currently not set up to accommodate powers of attorney. Santander admits this is very unsatisfactory.
It came back to me saying: “We’re sorry that the customer was affected by a delay in receiving the consolidated tax certificate. This was caused by an incorrect classification applied to shares held by a small proportion of customers on our Investment Hub.”
It told me that a week after my involvement you were issued with the certificates. In fact an undated letter had gone to your mother with the tax certificates attached rather than to you.
This demonstrates further how the Investment Hub arrangements do not work sympathetically for powers of attorney.
As to your query about online access, Santander recognises that it didn’t handle this as well as it could have done.
It says: “We’re aware and agree with the customer that there is an obvious disconnect between having a power of attorney over someone’s financial affairs and not being able to access information on their investments.
“We are looking to improve the ability of those with power of attorney to directly access information as part of our desire to continually improve customer experience.”
It has sent your mother £100 to apologise for the delays and how it handled your queries.
The bank urges any customers wanting to complete a paper tax return but still waiting for their tax certificate to contact it urgently given that there is very little time left.