MOST will have sympathy for anyone receiving an unexpected tax demand which they believe to be incorrect. However, that sympathy is misplaced if it transpires that HMRC is simply doing its duty by issuing that demand in the face of a breach of the established tax laws. It would be helpful therefore for an understanding of the rights and wrongs of the position of the doctors mentioned by Health Correspondent Helen McArdle (“Doctor: Pension tax bill will force me to cut hours", The Herald, September 11) if she would explain, for example, the specific arithmetic behind the problem the doctor anticipates if he achieves an annual income of £139,000.

I believe the present law is that anyone earning a total annual income of up to £150,000 can claim tax relief on total pension contributions of up to £40,000 each year, which is intended to allow the build-up of a healthy pension pot over the years. In the absence of a detailed explanation to show otherwise, it appears that the tax demands complained of would only arise through payment of pension contributions greater than the permitted annual amount which attracts tax relief.

It may be that the current laws on pension contributions acts unfairly against high incomes, but irrespective of the amount of income earned the tax laws have to be respected unless and until they are changed.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.