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, 7 March 2008

Complete Chaos

Complete Chaos
Well I am pleased to say that HMRC is now openly admitting what I, and the rest of the country have been saying, namely that it is in complete chaos.

East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton was told as much by an HMRC official, when he rang to ask about a late filing penalty.

Mr Loughton told MPs about the conversation during Treasury Questions this week.


"Yesterday I had cause to ring the late-filing penalty helpline of the Inland Revenue, having filed my tax return and had the cheque cashed on 30 January.

The very helpful lady I spoke with said that she could not help me because the address she had for me was 12 years out of date, and for my wife 17 years out of date, despite our filing tax returns every year.

She ended up by saying:

'As you are an MP, perhaps you will take away from this call the complete chaos we are in
.' "

Impressive isn't it?

Mr Loughton asked financial secretary to the Treasury Jane Kennedy:

"Do you share that view and, if you do, why are so many of your colleagues getting paid a bonus?"

Kennedy replied:

"I am sorry to hear your report of you experience with the self-assessment process. I shall take it away and investigate, but I point out that, despite the problems on the day, HMRC dealt with a very large number of cases.

As you know, people always leave it until the last minute, and HMRC experiences a huge surge in the number of self-assessments. All I can say is that I will investigate your case and look into exactly what reports you have made to HMRC in recent years

Ah there you have it, it's our fault for filing our tax returns at the last minute!

You see, in the world of those running HMRC, we exist to make their lives easier not the other way around. That is of course rather ironic, given the fact that our taxes pay their bonuses.

Kennedy also ignores the rather obvious problem wrt Mr loughton's case; HMRC have got records on both him, and his wife, that are years out of date. That is nothing to do with him filing his returns at the last minute.

As usual those running HMRC try to obfuscate those asking pertinent and relevant questions, by trying to blame those asking the questions.

I am afraid that things are going to get a lot worse.

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite ( is brought to you by "The Living Brand"


  1. I've left a couple of posts on here before but I'm consistently amazed at the people running HMRC . Certainly in the collection side of things the people at the highest level don't appear to have a handle on things and when things do hit the press (witness the article on debt not being pursued which is less than £3000)they try to cover it up with some typical Labour spin.In some cases it is downright lies.The people at the top of collection are living in a fantasy land. They dream up half baked ideas and when they try to implement them they find out that there is not enough money to buy the necessary equipment!!! It beggars belief. The Lyons report is fundamentally flawed. It advocates closing offices in the Soth East ( where most of the taxpayers are ) and moving the work up north. I've first hand experience of the work done by these northern offices and all I can say is that the standard is poor at best.Instead of the government bleating on that they have an £8 billion deficit why don't they invest in collecting some of the £26 billion which is currently known to be outstanding.

  2. £26BN outstanding, is it as much as that?

    Is there a source for this figure please?

  3. If the addresses were 12 years out of date or more surely there is a serious data protection issue here as well? I thought that the act required the holder to securely dispose of or delete any personal data which is out of date.

  4. Ken,
    This is from the debt analysis matrix.

  5. Regardless of where this comment supposidly came from, the information within the quote is totally inaccurate. For one HMRC does not have a dedicated phone line for late filing penalties, literature is sent out with penalty notices to advise custonmers how to make appeals against penalties in writing, all calls go to Customs & Revenue Call Centres ( CRCC's )
    Two, if the person making the quote had for the and 12 and 17 years respectively been filing their tax returns, then the issue of the return by HMRC and all subsequent statements must of went to the correct address as 17 years ago there was no online filing. There is also the small fact that the majority of HMRC systems hold information for the six year claim limit date only so I fail to see how a HMRC employee made such a statement about addresses being out of date.

    The whole quote is sensationalism at its best to make HMRC look its worst, as a HMRC employee of 20 years I have seen both good and ludicrious working practices being introduced in the name of customer service. Its bad enough that as employees we are left to explain to the general public the failing of implementations of central government reforms, but to fuel the fire by printing quotes from un named sources without first checking the feasibility of the quote appears that your site is there just to scorn without offering any type of solution.

  6. It's good to see that someone shares some of the concerns I have about this blog.

    For the last 6 months or so, I've been pointing out inaccuracies and spin where they've related to areas I know about and setting out evidence where it's available in the public domain, because while it's important to hold the public sector to account it's also important that some of the wilder and/or more ill-informed criticisms are also examined. Civil Servants take enough of a kicking from the mainstream media, which is subject to quaint things like libel, without having to take this sort of thing lying down!

    Whatever happens, the next Tory government is almost certain to hammer the Civil Service. The lower the public's perception of us is, the easier that is going to be. Democracy relies on genuine problems being exposed, but I feel it's only fair that where problems are mis-represented, exaggerated, or just invented, this is also pointed out!

  7. Have you written to Tim Loughton telling him that his story is an invention?

  8. Well, he didn't seem to know about the creation of HMRC nearly three years after the Inland Revenue ceased to exist.

    Anyway, I've now contacted Mr Loughton to ask if anything came out of Kennedy's investigation into the case. I await a response.