Thursday 11 April 2024

HMRC Spunks £4.5M of Taxpayers' Money Up The Wall on Woke Non Jobs



In an era where every penny of public expenditure should be accounted for, the recent revelation of HMRC's spending on 'woke non-jobs' is nothing short of a scandal.

A Misguided Spending Spree

HMRC, the body responsible for collecting taxes and ensuring financial fairness, has ironically been caught in a wasteful spending spree. A whopping £4.5 million has been squandered on roles that have been labelled as 'woke non-jobs'. These are roles add little to no value to the organisation or to the public it serves.

Here are the non jobs that our taxes are paying for:

  • Culture Impacting and Equalities Support
  • Senior Consultant for Equality Diversity
  • Values & Culture Advocate Lead
  • Wellbeing Project Co-ordinator
  • Culture Impacting and Equalities Support

The Cost of Irresponsibility

This £4.5 million is not just a number. It represents a colossal waste of public funds, funds that could have been better spent on improving public services, reducing the tax burden, or even paying down the national debt. Instead, this money has been frittered away on jobs that seem more focused on virtue signalling than delivering tangible benefits to the public.

A Call for Accountability

This situation calls for a serious examination of HMRC's spending priorities. It's high time that HMRC, like all public sector organisations, is held accountable for its spending decisions. The public deserves to know why such a significant amount of money is being spent on 'woke non-jobs' and what benefits, if any, these roles are bringing.

In conclusion, HMRC's £4.5 million spending on 'woke non-jobs' is a glaring example of financial irresponsibility. It's a stark reminder of the need for greater transparency, accountability, and financial prudence in all areas of public expenditure. 

The public deserves better, and it's high time that HMRC delivered!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Monday 8 April 2024

Sacked For Not Being Sorry Enough



In a recent turn of events, Gordon Askew, a member of the branch executive committee at HMRC's Benton Park View branch in Newcastle, was dismissed. The grounds for this dismissal were cited as 'potential' computer misuse.

Background

The dismissal followed a series of targeted strike actions taken by the branch, including three national days of strike action. In the aftermath of these strikes, HMRC launched an investigation into two Newcastle-based representatives.

The Charge

The charge against Askew was a 'potential' breach of the department's IT policy. This was allegedly due to a Microsoft Teams message sent to a number of PCS members, relating to the strike action. The department’s decision maker claimed that Microsoft Teams had been used “without a legitimate business reason”.

The Decision

Despite Askew's nearly thirty years of spotless service to the department, the decision maker opted for dismissal. It was stated that a lesser penalty was considered, but the decision to sack Askew was made because he didn’t appear to be sorry enough for what he had done.

A History of Dismissals

This is not the first time that a PCS representative has been dismissed by HMRC management in Newcastle. In 2017, the branch organiser was sacked for emailing the branch membership list from his work email account to his personal account². Despite PCS arguing that a PCS rep emailing PCS material from work to home was not a matter for the department, the dismissal proceeded. However, PCS was successful in securing the rep’s reinstatement.

Next Steps

PCS is currently discussing the next steps with their Legal Department. A meeting for all members of the branch will be held on 10 April to discuss the response to the sacking.

Conclusion

This incident raises questions about the treatment of union representatives and the interpretation of IT policies within HMRC. It underscores the importance of clear communication and fair treatment in the workplace. As the situation unfolds, PCS members and observers alike will be keenly watching the developments.


Tax does have to be taxing.

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Thursday 28 March 2024

HMRC Proudly Admits That a Human Wrote This!

 


 

HMRC has confirmed that it does not use AI to write letters sent to taxpayers, and is proud to confirm that the above was written by a member of its human staff!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Friday 22 March 2024

HMRC Announces 60% Office Attendance


 

 

HMRC has recently confirmed a significant change in office attendance for its employees. Starting from 2nd April 2024, all grades within the organisation will be required to attend the office at least 60% of their working time. This move comes as part of the government's efforts to transition back to a more traditional office-based work environment.

You would have thought that they should already be in the office on a daily basis!

The 'Office Attendance Tool'

To facilitate this transition, HMRC is introducing the Office Attendance Tool. Here are some key points about how it works:

1. Automatic Data Gathering: The tool automatically collects data from various sources to determine where an employee is working. If an employee docks their computer at an office desk, it registers as a day of office attendance. Connecting via Government Wi-Fi does not create a report, but swiping into an office with a swipe card system also counts as attending the office.

2. Manager Access: Managers do not have access to specific timings for swiping in or docking computers. The system simply registers office days without providing detailed information on arrival or departure times.

Outstanding Concerns

Despite the implementation date being set for 2nd April, there are several outstanding concerns raised by employees and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS):

1. Office Capacity: Employees are worried about office capacity and whether there will be enough space to accommodate the increased attendance.

2. Travel Costs: Some employees may face additional travel costs due to increased office attendance.

3. Training: Concerns exist regarding the level of training provided to staff and managers on how the tool functions.

4. Functionality: The functionality of the Attendance Tool itself has been questioned, especially after access issues were reported during the initial rollout.

As I said, it rather beggars belief that staff are not already in the office 60% of the time!
Tax does have to be taxing.

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Wednesday 20 March 2024

HMRC's Helpline Debacle U Turn - Useless Wankers!


 

HMRC has recently been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. In a move that can only be described as a spectacular display of poor judgement, HMRC announced plans to make permanent cuts to its helplines, only to retract the proposal less than 24 hours later. This incident not only exposes a worrying lack of foresight within the organization but also raises serious concerns about its commitment to serving taxpayers.

A Reckless Proposal

The initial decision to cut helplines was nothing short of reckless. It demonstrated a complete disregard for the needs of taxpayers, particularly those who are less tech-savvy or grappling with complex tax issues. The backlash was immediate and intense, and rightly so. Yet, the speed at which HMRC backtracked on its decision suggests that they were woefully unprepared for the consequences of their actions.

A Damning U-Turn

The swift U-turn, while necessary, is a damning indictment of HMRC's decision-making process. It paints a picture of an organisation that is out of touch with the needs of its constituents and incapable of strategic planning. This incident has done significant damage to HMRC's credibility and has left many taxpayers questioning whether they can trust the organisation to make sound decisions in the future.

A Missed Opportunity

Instead of using this incident as an opportunity to reassess its approach and improve its services, HMRC has chosen to simply revert to the status quo. This is a missed opportunity. HMRC should be investing in its helplines, improving the quality of support provided, and ensuring that all taxpayers have access to the help they need.

Conclusion

HMRC's helpline cuts debacle is a stark reminder of the importance of effective decision-making within public organisations. It's clear that HMRC needs to do better. It needs to demonstrate that it understands the needs of taxpayers and is committed to providing them with the support they require. Anything less is simply unacceptable.

HMRC is being run by useless wankers!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Tuesday 19 March 2024

HMRC Doesn't Give a Flying Fuck - Closes Helplines


 

HMRC has announced permanent cuts to its helpline services. While the department claims these changes are part of modernisation efforts, they raise significant concerns for taxpayers and professionals alike.

1. Self Assessment Phoneline Closure
The decision to permanently close the self assessment phoneline between April and September is a perplexing one. During these crucial months, taxpayers often seek assistance with complex queries related to their self assessment. By directing them solely to online services, HMRC risks leaving many in the lurch. Not everyone is comfortable navigating digital platforms, and the closure of the phoneline may exacerbate confusion and frustration.

2. VAT and PAYE Helpline Cuts
The permanent closure of the VAT helpline is particularly troubling. Businesses rely on this service for timely advice on VAT registration, compliance, and other critical matters. The abruptness of the closure—only five days' notice—shows a lack of consideration for taxpayers and agents. Furthermore, limiting the helpline to just five days a month adds unnecessary pressure during peak filing periods.

Similarly, the PAYE helpline's refusal to handle refund-related calls is baffling. Refunds are a fundamental aspect of tax administration, and taxpayers should be able to seek clarification without hurdles. Redirecting them to online resources may not always suffice, especially when specific scenarios require personalized assistance.

3. Lack of Transparency
HMRC's decision-making process lacks transparency. The inconclusive evaluation of the trial closure of the self assessment helpline during the summer months raises questions. Why make permanent changes without a thorough assessment of their impact? 

Taxpayers deserve clarity on how these decisions were reached and what evidence supports them.

 4. Impact on Accessibility
While HMRC emphasises self-service through online channels, it must recognise that not everyone has equal access. Some taxpayers lack reliable internet connectivity or struggle with digital literacy. The closure of helplines disproportionately affects vulnerable groups, including the elderly and those with limited technological resources.

5. Professional Concerns
Tax professionals, including the ICAEW Senior Technical Manager Caroline Miskin and CIOT President Gary Ashford, have expressed reservations. The VAT helpline closure may lead to high demand, long waiting times, and potential errors. HMRC's ability to provide adequate support is now in question.

Caroline Miskin:

“While HMRC has evaluated the trial to close the self assessment helpline during the summer months, it doesn’t plan to formally review it any further, even though the impact of this move on the accuracy of returns won’t be clear for some time.

Since restricting the self assessment helpline, HMRC has been quick to promote the fact that a record number of taxpayers met the self assessment deadline. However, more people also missed the deadline and some online services require significant improvement.”

CIOT president Gary Ashford: 

“We are deeply dismayed that, so soon after the criticisms levelled at them by the Public Accounts Committee, and in the light of an inconclusive evaluation, HMRC have decided to make these big, permanent cuts to the help they provide to taxpayers. If last year’s announcement of the summer closure of the Self-Assessment helpline was a ‘flashing indicator’ that HMRC can’t cope, today’s announcements are a blinding light.

HMRC’s own evaluation of both the closure of the helpline in summer 2023, and the helpline restrictions during the 2024 self-assessment peak, concluded that it is too early to say if there has been a long-term shift from phone contact to online self-service. Yet HMRC have decided to go ahead anyway."


Conclusion
HMRC's helpline cuts risk alienating taxpayers and undermining the department's core mission—to serve the public effectively. While modernisation is essential, it should not come at the expense of accessibility and quality service. Taxpayers deserve better, and HMRC must reevaluate its approach to helpline services.


Tax does have to be taxing.

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A Solar Protect policy will enable your accountant (your tax return agent) to:

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  • Attend any meeting with HMRC
  • Appeal to the First-tier Tribunal or Upper Tribunal
  • Having the security of knowing that fees will be met in full will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to defend your position robustly

Please click here for details.

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