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.

Friday, 27 May 2016

HMRC's Secret Online Verification System


Well now, here's a funny thing it appears that HMRC is pushing ahead with its own plans to build an online authentication portal following the decommissioning of the current Gateway portal in 2018.

This portal will be able to authenticate businesses, something the Government Digital Service's online authentication system Verify cannot do.

What is so "funny" about that I hear you ask?

Well it transpires that HMRC doesn't want the Cabinet Office to know that it's doing that.

Oops, now that it's in the public domain it will now know!

For why is it such a "secret"?

Apparently HMRC doesn't think that Verify is up to snuff; specifically it thinks it will be too slow and won't ever handle businesses. Additionally, HMRC doesn't think that Verify will be ready.

A spokesman for HMRC is quoted by The Register:
"The current Government Gateway will be replaced with a new version of the service. The replacement service will continue to support business and agent users into the future.

We know that GOV.UK Verify doesn’t work for all our customers yet. To make sure that everyone who wants to use digital services is able to, we’ve put in place a complementary service for those customers struggling to get online, which is based on Government Gateway but with an added 2-step verification process and identity check to further strengthen security.

The Government Gateway service will continue, although there will be improvements to security, design and usability delivered in a new version of Government Gateway. DWP is working with HMRC and other Government users to define the new service and when and how to achieve the move to the new version.

The replacement service will continue to support business and agent users into the future.”
Two systems, twice the cost?

This fark up doesn't appear to be HMRC's fault this time!

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, 26 May 2016

The Quality of Service to Personal Taxpayers Inquiry


Without any sense of irony, in light of yesterday's damning NAO report into the chaos at HMRC costing taxpayers £97M in phone calls and possibly giving rise to over 3 million incorrect tax payments, PAC will be holding an inquiry into the quality of service to personal taxpayers.

I am glad to see the word "taxpayers" not "customers" has been used!

The deadline for written submissions is 7 June.

The Public Accounts Committee holds a session on the quality of service to personal taxpayers on Monday 13 June 2016 at 4.00pm


Scope of the inquiry


HM Revenue & Customs' (HMRC) mission is to collect the money that pays for the UK's public services and help families and individuals with targeted financial support. It aims to administer the tax system in the most simple, customer focused and efficient way, helping the honest majority to get their tax right.

Taxpayers pay around £270 billion a year in income tax and national insurance, around half of all tax revenue. Many people who pay income tax do not need to engage with HMRC on a regular basis. Most income tax (86%) is collected from employees under Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) and administered by employers. The remaining 14% of taxpayers who are self-employed or have other income sources are required to assess their own tax liabilities.

During the last five years, the National Audit Office and the Committee of Public Accounts have reported several times on HMRC's customer service. In 2013, the Committee of Public Accounts expressed concern that the prospects of fewer staff and more calls were a real risk to HMRC achieving acceptable standards of service. The NAO report will look at what HMRC has done to improve performance since the NAO last reported in 2012, and how HMRC plans to improve customer service and seek to understand whether the quality of HMRC's customer service might affect tax revenue.

If you wish to submit evidence to this inquiry, please do so through the page linked below. The deadline for written submissions is midday on Tuesday 7 June 2016.

Send a written submission


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, 25 May 2016

Taxpayers' £97M HMRC Phone Bill


As loyal readers know, getting through to HMRC on the phone is something of an endurance test. As such, it should come as no surprise to anyone to learn that the National Audit office (NAO) is none too impressed with caller wait times either.

The NAO reports that a decision to cut jobs in HMRC meant that call waiting times tripled to 47 minutes last October just as paper tax returns were due. Bizarrely more than 5,000 HMRC staff were moved away from its call centres at a time when telephone calls were not falling.

“HMRC’s overall strategy of using digitally enabled information to improve efficiency and deliver service in new ways make sense to the NAO. This does not change the fact that they got their timing badly wrong in 2014, letting significant numbers of call handling staff go before their new approach was working reliably. This led to a collapse in service quality and forced a rapid expansion of headcount. HMRC needs to move forward carefully and get their strategy back on track while maintaining, and hopefully improving, service standards”.
Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, 25 May 2016

The cost to the economy of leaving millions of callers hanging on the line (which as per the Telegraph is officially priced at £17 an hour) was £97million, up by 50% in three years.

The chaos prompted HMRC belatedly to send 2,400 staff to man the phones at its call centres, which in turn meant they had to “defer essential work to maintain PAYE records”.

The consequences of moving the deckchairs in this manner was a doubling of discrepancies between PAYE and self-assessment returns, leaving a risk that 3.2million people had “paid the wrong amount of tax”.

HMRC will be quizzed by PAC next month about this clusterfuck.

How ironic that just as this chaos is being exposed to the cold light of day, Dame Homer retired last month. The timing of her retirement couldn't be better, and is the only thing that she has got right in her civil service career!

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, 24 May 2016

Retrospective VAT on Adult Books


Oh dear, those of you with a passion for adult colouring books may need to get your stocks in now lest HMRC slap VAT on them.

The Telegraph reports that HMRC is pushing for VAT to be introduced on the sale of adult colouring books, and for the tax to be applied retrospectively.

Since VAT was introduced in Britain in 1973 children’s books, which includes “sample pictures for copying or outlines of pictures for colouring, painting or drawing” have been zero-rated. However, HMRC is arguing that these books are clearly marketed for adults, and therefore VAT should be levied.

The question is, at what level of intricacy should colouring books be deemed as “adult"?

Michael O’ Mara, chairman of the country’s biggest publisher of colouring books, said:
It is our view that this decision flies in the face of the relevant legislation. We and other publishers, following the lead of the Publishers Association, are fighting this decision and we hope that HMRC, on reflection, recognise that they have got this wrong.
VATable or not, the fact that HMRC is considering making the charge retrospective should ring alarm bells very loudly 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"

Monday, 23 May 2016

HMRC Customer Service Consultant Job Advert


My thanks to a loyal reader, who sent me a link to an HMRC job advert for a customer service consultant in Stockton-on-Tees.

According to the advert it pays £20K per month!

I have posted the full job advert at the end of this article. However, aside from the fact taxpayers are not customers, there is something else that is a little flaky about the advert.

My loyal reader points out that a jobholder would expect to work no more than their contracted hours for the year, and expect to balance any peak working periods and/or long working days with corresponding time off.

The jobs advertised are full-time and will be on a five out of seven day contract including Saturdays and Sundays. The customer service centres are open 8am to 10pm, seven days a week. The working pattern will fall within these times. The work will be a combination of daytime and evening shifts; this may include three late shifts per week. In addition work on Saturdays and Sundays will be on a rotational basis.

What is left unsaid in the advert, in the opinion of my loyal reader, is that the candidates must jump through hoops to even get an interview for a call centre job that is not called a call centre job because it is based in a "normal" office.
  • The hours worked will be those that current HMRC staff won't work, hence HMRC is trying to get rid of these "non flexible" staff without the cost of redundancy. 
  • Tax knowledge is not essential, 5 weeks training will just about get the applicants through the many, many software programmes they will be required to use simultaneously over two monitors when on the phones.
  • The priority is to keep the phone waiting times out of the media.
  • Calls will be monitored and "customer service" is not required.
  • Never ask the taxpayer ‘if there is anything else you can do for them’.
In the event that this sounds like the job of your dreams, then here are the details in full:




Job ID
30137870
Posting Date
19/05/2016
Company
HMRC
Location
UK-Yorkshire-Stockton-on-Tees
Industries
Government and public sector
Job type
Full time
Career level
None
Salary
18,415.00 - 20,074.00  per month
Pension schemes are available and more information will be provided to successful candidates.
Hours of Work
Flexitime
Annual hours

HMRC

Customer Service Consultant

Job description

Must Read:
Please ensure that you read The Candidate Pack attached to this vacancy before you apply.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority. We do much more than just collect tax as we administer benefit payments, pay out tax credits as well as collecting tax.

As a Customer Service Consultant you will:
• Handle incoming calls from customers effectively and efficiently;
• Identify, record and resolve customer complaints or issues professionally;
• Use various computer systems to update/maintain and create customer records accurately;
• Handling some more complex queries and issues, making sure they are all resolved quickly and efficiently;
• Provide accurate information in a professional and helpful manner by collecting and assessing relevant data and information from various sources such as departmental guidance, customer records/systems, managers and other relevant business units;
• Process electronic work & digital information;
• Reply to internal messages;
• Be responsible for identifying your own learning needs;
• Help with general administrative duties.

To do this we will require you to have good
• IT skills – you will need proficient basic skills in using a range of computer systems including Microsoft Windows & Office and be able to navigate comfortably around internet based programmes.
• Communication skills – You will need good communication skills both verbal and written.

Full training is provided so that you have an in depth knowledge of the services, which you will be providing, to enable you to positively contribute to the customer experience.

Successful candidates must be able to commit fully to their initial training. Training will last up to 5 weeks and requires full time commitment between 8.30am and 5pm.

Operational Delivery Apprenticeships:
Within this recruitment campaign we also hope to be able to offer a number of apprenticeships to successful applicants. There will be opportunities in each of the location(s) listed above.

If you accept an offer of an apprenticeship you will be on the same pay and terms and conditions of employment as Customer Service Consultants, and will enjoy the same benefits whilst also benefiting from being able to study for an internationally recognised qualification.

Competencies
You will be asked to supply evidence of meeting these competencies when you apply.
1.    Delivering at pace
Benefits
Pensions
may be available for successful candidates.
Things you need to know
Security
Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must pass .
Nationality statement
Candidates will be subject to requirements as well as .

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.
Selection process details
Selection will be by Test, Sift and Interview.

After submission of your application you will be invited to complete an online test that takes up to 25 minutes to complete. Example questions are available once logged in. Please complete the online test at your earliest convenience as you will have until midnight on 02/06/2016 to submit your completed test. If you fail to complete the online test before the deadline your application will be withdrawn.

We do not require any formal qualification for this role, however you will be asked to take standardised tests in both English and Maths

If there are more candidates than roles available a sifting exercise will be undertaken based on the Delivering at Pace competency that forms part of the application.

During your application you will be invited to take an online Civil Service Initial Sift Test (CSIST) as part of your application – please see the candidate pack for more information.

If you are successful at the CSIST Test you will be invited to complete a standardised online test in English and Maths. Should you be successful at this you will be invited to attend an interview.

At interview candidates will be asked situational questions that test the competences Delivering at Pace and Managing a Quality Service with the competence leading and communication assessed through consideration of candidate's performance at interview

The following competencies will be tested at interview. Please see candidate pack for more information:

Delivering at pace
Managing a quality service
Leading and communicating
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.
Nationality requirements
Open to UK, and and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available .
Eligibility
Candidates in their probationary period are eligible to apply for vacancies within this department.
Working for the Civil Service
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's . There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.
Apply and further information
Contact point for applicants
For further information about these roles please contact:
info.ptrecruitment@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk
Online Test Deadline Instructions
Please complete the online test at your earliest convenience as you will have until midnight on 02/06/2016 to submit your completed test. If you fail to complete the online test before the deadline your application will be withdrawn.
Online Test Deadline
2 Jun 2016
Sift/interview dates and location
Sift dates to be Confirmed

The interviews will be held in a Government office and will take place from 27th June onwards.
If successful and transferring from another Government Department a criminal record check maybe carried out.

Working pattern

These posts are full-time and will be on a five out of seven day contract including Saturdays and Sundays. Our customer service centres are open 8am to 10pm, seven days a week. Your working pattern will fall within these times.
You will work a combination of daytime and evening shifts; this may include three late shifts per week. In addition you will work Saturdays and Sundays on a rotational basis.
The working patterns will be flexible and subject to change in line with business needs; we will ask you to work a variety of shift patterns between the office opening hours detailed above, but we will not make any changes without giving you a suitable notice period. We would normally tell you two or more weeks in advance.

A jobholder would expect to work no more than their contracted hours for the year and expect to balance any peak working periods and/or long working days by corresponding time off.

Further information
Over the next 10 years HMRC will be reducing the number of its offices and will be located in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Croydon and Stratford. There will also be a small number of offices where we will retain some specialist roles in Dover, Worthing, Gartcosh (near Glasgow) and Telford, as well as our headquarters in central London. If you are recruited into an office that is not one of these locations, you will be expected to move to one in the future.

Some of HMRC Terms and Conditions of employment changed on 1st May 2013, these will apply to people who are new recruits to HMRC or who take a new job in HMRC on promotion. The document attached to this advertisement provides more information on the changes we made, please note this is not a full list of HMRC's terms and conditions. If you need to discuss how these changes might affect you, please contact the vacancy holder. For further information on terms and conditions please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/about/recruitment#annual-leave

If you are currently working for an OGD and would like to consider the impact on your pay when joining HMRC, please see the attached document "Pay on Transfer from OGD" for further information.

Working for HMRC
If you would like to learn more about HMRC, please visit our YouTube page HMRC.gov.uk and search Tax Facts: About HMRC

Please ensure that you read The Candidate Pack attached to this vacancy before you apply.

A reserve list may be held for a period up to 3 months from which further appointments may be made.

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"

Friday, 20 May 2016

Stand and Deliver


As taxpayers know, when it comes to tax nothing is ever as simple as it first may appear.

This lesson was learned by savers who earn cash bonuses from their bank accounts. In a simple view of the world these payments would surely be counted as interest, and therefore eligible for the £1,000 tax-free allowance.

Would they not?

Ermmm..no, sadly not.

HMRC contends that bonuses from bank accounts are ineligible for the £1,000 tax-free allowance, because the rewards are classed as 'annual payments' (not interest) and are as such fully taxable.

What the state gives with the one hand, it takes with the other!

Here endeth today's lesson.

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"