HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Homer's Note In The Telegraph


Lin Homer's note to staff telling them about their forthcoming redundancies, has been picked up by The Telegraph.

I wonder if Hardwick will be putting his head above the parapet again?

Oh, hang on a minute, I see that he has:
 "I'm sorry to have to correct you again, Harriet. 

HMRC's operating budget was £3.26 billion last year - less than a tenth of the figure you have quoted. It was reduced by 25 per cent in the 2010 Spending Review and by another five per cent in the 2013 Spending Review, although we have been given £1 billion of the savings back over four years to invest in tackling tax evasion and avoidance, fraud and error. Using those savings we secured an extra £23.9 billion in compliance revenues last year and an extra £20.7 billion the year before.
You have also compounded your innuendo of last week, by now suggesting that our CFO is leaving as a result of an "accounting glitch". This is as untrue this week as it was last week."


Tax does have to be taxing.

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Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Friday, 17 October 2014

Homer's Message To Staff - You're Fired!


As I noted on Saturday, yesterday HMRC made a significant announcement about office closures etc.

The "success" of the restructuring depends on the successful automation ("digital transformation" to use a well worn phrase) of HMRC's processes, if this fails then HMRC will be in the shit.

My thanks to a loyal reader who forwarded me a copy of Lin Homer's message to HMRC staff:

Message from Lin Homer: Workforce changes 

16 October 2014

This morning, we talked to colleagues across HMRC about some important changes we need to make, and what this means for them.

Our first priority has been to ensure that the people who are affected heard from us directly. Now we know that has happened, I want to tell you about what we’re planning, and what will happen next.

As you know, as a Department we are becoming smaller and are increasingly concentrating our work on large sites in the UK’s urban centres.

We are also changing the way we do that work, with far greater emphasis on automation and digital services.

The announcements we’re making today reflect that transformation. We are being, and will continue to be, open and honest about our thinking, and what the future is likely to hold.

There is a lot to share, so I’m going to take each announcement in turn. Q&As are available through links at the end of this message.

1. Consultation on closure dates for 14 offices

Last November, we explained that 14 of our offices did not feature in our medium to long-term plans, and that it was likely that all 14 would close.

On 5 June this year we launched a two-month consultation on proposed closure dates for these offices. We considered all of the information very carefully, and we want to thank everyone who responded. Although we recognise the impact on individuals working in these offices, none of the responses suggested that changing the date of closure would reduce that impact.

As a result, we have decided to close all 14 of the offices on the dates originally planned. This means that 453 people will join the redeployment pool now, and we will do our best to help them to find new roles. However, we have also made it clear that we believe opportunities will be limited, and so in January we will declare those who have not found new roles surplus, and invite them to apply for voluntary redundancy.

2. People working in AA roles in PT Operations

We have made enormous changes to the way in which we deliver our online and digital services in recent years. As a result, there has been a huge reduction in the work traditionally done by people working at AA grade, especially in the areas of PAYE and Self Assessment.

We are also, as you probably know, looking to make major reductions in the amount of post we send out and receive. In July this year, we started scanning mail that comes into PT Operations, removing the need to sort, catalogue and redirect it by hand.

By the end of this year, we plan to have completed the roll-out of mail scanning to cover all PT Operations post, unless it isn’t suitable for digitisation – more detail on what we plan to do with that post can be found below.

Because of these changes, we are now inviting approximately 690 people working at AA grade in PT Operations roles to consider applying for a voluntary exit.

3. ESS Regional Post Rooms

The transformation of the way we handle post also means change for our people in Regional Post Rooms.

Back in June, we announced the closure of our Cardiff and Bootle Regional Post Rooms and invited the 85 people at AA grade there to apply for voluntary redundancy. We said at that time that it was likely that the remaining three post rooms would also close.

Today, we are confirming the closure of the Regional Post Rooms in Cumbernauld, Shipley and Newcastle, on 31 March 2015.

In Cumbernauld and Shipley, we are placing eight people working at O and AO grade in both post rooms into the redeployment pool; again, we will do our best to find them new roles. We think that the chances of finding new roles for the 46 AA grade people working there are more limited, so we are inviting them to apply for voluntary redundancy.

In Newcastle, we will be opening a new Central Mail Unit on the site of the former post room in Benton Park View. This new unit will deal with all of the post received across HMRC that isn’t suitable for scanning, and will also handle outgoing mail until the introduction of our new Centralised Print Service. We’re planning to use the expertise of the staff in the current post room, who will all transfer into the new unit.

4. Wellesley House, Stockport

Earlier this year, we were given notice by DWP to vacate Wellesley House, Stockport by the end of March 2015. Since then, we have looked at where we need to be based in that area, and have done everything we can to find new locations for the 107 people working there.

Forty people who are outside of Reasonable Daily Travel of other locations are still looking for new roles. We will keep trying to redeploy them, but we are also inviting them all to apply for a voluntary exit package.

5. Redeployment pool review

As I said above, we do everything we can to find suitable new roles for people whose work is reducing or coming to an end. However, as HMRC gets smaller, this is getting harder.

We review the redeployment pool regularly throughout the year and identify people who cannot be easily redeployed. We will be contacting people who we believe will find it difficult to obtain new roles by the end of this month, and inviting them to apply for either a voluntary exit or voluntary redundancy.

6. Wingfield House, Portsmouth

Since 2012, we’ve been clear that we plan to close Wingfield House, Portsmouth, by 31 March 2015. This is because we thought that all HMRC people working in Portsmouth would be able to fit into Lynx House by that date.

We now know that the figures have changed, so we’ve decided to close five floors of Wingfield House and transfer 300 people to Lynx House by 30 October 2015. We’re keeping on two floors in Wingfield House, so 100 people will stay there for the time being.

Next steps

As I said above, I know that these announcements mean that some of our colleagues are facing challenging and important choices.

I want to make it very clear that the decisions are not a reflection on them or the quality of their work: I am grateful to all of them for their hard work and their commitment to HMRC and our customers.

We are committed to treating everyone affected sensitively and fairly, and will give them as much support as we can to ensure they can make informed decisions about their futures. Where people want to try to find a new role in HMRC, we will give them priority status for suitable vacancies through the redeployment pool. For people whose type of work is reducing or coming to an end, we are inviting them to apply for either voluntary exit or voluntary redundancy, with a good compensation package. We will also provide practical support and advice on finding a new role outside HMRC.

I recognise that these are not easy messages, but each one is part of the overall transformation of HMRC – into a Department able to cope with the demands facing us in the future.

Thank you.

Lin Homer

Chief Executive

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Don't Bypass The Courts

CIoT president Anne Fairpo has warned HMRC not to bypass the courts when enforcing tax debts.

She is quoted by AccountancyAge speaking at the CIoT's presidential reception:
"I am concerned about the increasing focus on HMRC enforcement without third party supervision. There is, and can be, no dispute that HMRC needs to enforce tax debts. There's no dispute that we have a societal infrastructure that needs to be paid for.

In a perfect world, perhaps HMRC wouldn't need the courts - but then again, in a perfect world, no-one would need the courts. This is not a perfect world. People make mistakes. HMRC makes mistakes."
Wise words indeed!

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

24 Hour PCS Strike


About 200,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are expected to take part in a 24 hour strike over pay today.

It is not clear how many of those are HMRC staff, nor what effect that it will have on HMRC services.

Please feel free to update me if any of you have further details about the effects or otherwise.

Thanks.

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

HMRC's Communications Problems

Bloomsbury has published its latest "HMRC customer satisfaction survey" and it is ironic that, despite Stephen Hardwick's (HMRC's Communication's Director) very vocal communication with the Telegraph the other day, taxpayers have expressed increasing frustrations with regard to trying to communicate with HMRC.


As per The Economic Voice, Bloomsbury notes on the plus side that the annual satisfaction survey showed an improvement in taxpayers’ perception of HMRC’s trustworthiness, honesty and integrity, as well as in its effectiveness in protecting personal and business information; ie 65% of accountants and 79% of SMEs surveyed regarded HMRC as trustworthy, up from just 61% and 74% in the previous year. The proportion of people saying that they feel HMRC acts with honesty and integrity has also increased (74% of accountants now believed HMRC acts honestly, up from 68% in 2012/13, while trust from taxpayers remained consistently high at 73% over the last two years).

However, there was a decrease in the perception that HMRC is better at collecting tax than repaying it. This year, only 41% of taxpayers and 36% of SMEs believed this to be the case, down from 59% and 41% respectively in 2010/11.

Additionally, the survey found that accountants, SMEs and individual taxpayers are growing increasingly dissatisfied with the ‘ease of getting in touch with HMRC’.

Only 70% of SMEs think HMRC was easy to contact, down from 80% in 2009/09, similarly, just 63% of individual taxpayers thought HMRC to be easily contactable, down from 75% in 2008/09.

The survey also found that fewer individual taxpayers, accountants and SMEs consider HMRC to be communicating effectively, and keeping them adequately informed of the progress of their query. A record low proportion of accountants, just 51%, felt that HMRC keep them informed, falling from 63% in 2008/09. Just 74% of SMEs feel HMRC keeps them adequately up-to-date, down from 82% in 2008/09.

Over to you Stephen!

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance




HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"



Monday, 13 October 2014

Stephen Hardwick Lashes Out At The Telegraph

Last week a loyal reader noted that Simon Bowles (CFO of HMRC) was leaving HMRC.

The Telegraph, after I tweeted their City Diary Editor Harriet Dennys the article, duly mentioned it on Sunday and went on to imply that his departure was linked to the 5 million clusterfuck.

Enter Stephen Hardwick (HMRC's Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs - who was initially appointed only on a temporary basis in 2011), who penned a pithy response in the comments section; and I quote:
"I'm the Comms Director at HMRC. Let me separate fact from insinuation.
First, as we told Harriet Dennys, our Finance Chief informed our CEO a long time ago that he had decided to leave on his sixth anniversary, but we only announced it this week because that's when his six months' notice begins. Simple, really.

Second, he's a permanent senior civil servant. He's not on a contract, so the "not seeking to renew his contract for another three-year stint" is tosh. He could stay as long as he likes.

Third, the alleged "botched 5.5 million payments", as Harriet knows full well, is the process that the PAYE system has gone through for the last 60 years, when any discrepancies between what tax has been paid by employees and what they owe are sorted out. This usually occurs because someone has changed jobs, had a pay rise, got a benefit or something which hasn't been notified to HMRC during the year. With Real Time Information, the size of these discrepancies will reduce - provided we get the right information from employers - but there's always likely to be the need to reconcile people's tax accounts at the end of the year. Oh, and our latest best estimate is 18-20,000 incorrect notices were sent out in September, not 100,000. And none of this operational stuff comes under the Chief Finance Officer.

Finally, HMRC brought in record revenues last year - £506 billion - to pay for our nation's public services, so however much we might make mistakes from time to time (no organisation is infallible), we're doing very well at the core job. And we achieved this while keeping within a shrinking budget. This budget stuff is what our Finance Chief is responsible for and he has done it brilliantly for the past five and a half years. He will be sorely missed when he goes."
Hardwick learned his trade as a journalist and political adviser to the deputy head of the Labour Party, so the word "tosh" and firing from the hip comes naturally.


Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"