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.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Catch 22 - A Dilemma

Catch 22 - A Dilemma
I understand that those in charge of HMRC have presented those who work for HMRC with something of Catch 22 dilemma.

Allow me to explain.

When people apply for a CIS card, Tax Credits, or register for Self Employment they are required to produce several forms of ID at a Revenue office.

So far so good.

One of the forms of ID can be a letter from a Government department to the applicants home address.

With me so far?

Now here is where it becomes a little more tricky.

Imagine that you are a failed asylum seeker.

What would you do to prove your identity?

Yes, that's right, you would use a letter from the Home Orifice.

After all, the Home Orifice is a "respected" government institution, a letter from them surely would cut the mustard...wouldn't it?

In theory yes it would, until that is you actually read what the letter says.

Now what do you think that this letter says?

Shall I help you here?

It says that the failed asylum seeker is specifically forbidden from working or claiming benefits, as the failed asylum seeker has been denied rights to asylum.

Now a logical and sensible employee of HMRC would of course use this letter as the basis for denying benefits/tax credits. Unfortunately those who run HMRC are not very logical, sensible or indeed very bright.

Those in charge of HMRC have issued an edict to their staff telling them to accept these letters as a valid form of ID for verification purposes.

Let me just remind you one more time:


To add insult to injury, the staff at HMRC have also been expressly forbidden from notifying the Home Orifice etc of the fact that this "client group" is breaking the law, due to the "data protection" implications.

Am I the only one who finds this to be completely absurd?

Would those who "run" HMRC care to comment?

Tax does have to be taxing.

The New Statesman, Britain's leading political magazine is delighted to announce that HMRC Is Shite has been nominated for a New Media Award in the category of Campaign For Change. The campaign for change award will go to the individual or organisation that has most effectively influenced opinions and behaviour through the use of new media technology. The winner of this award will champion a cause and provide information and tools to instigate change.

The full press release can be downloaded here.

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  1. I don't doubt what you've said... but can you provide the source of this information?

    It almost seems too bizarre... even for this government!

  2. Insane if true! Nowt to add.

    PS I think you have mentioned your possible award about 5 times now. A man after my own heart Mr F! If it was me I would be dropping it into every sentence.

  3. To be fair, a letter or anything else "official" for these purposes is only to establish the identity/residential address of the addressee. I doubt that anyone at HMRC (or any other organisation using these documents) actually read the contents of the letter (or any letter), nor should they be expected to once they are convinced that the letter is genuine. In the same way a bank statement used to prove somebody's bona fides under similar circumstances is not usually subject to a financial analysis by the organisation requesting sight of the statement. Admittedly, however, the contents of the failed asylum seeker's Home Office letter would be far more useful to HMRC than details of his overdraft.

    HMRC is indeed shite (as is most of the administration of government in this fair land) but there are more egregious examples of its shiteness than this (which your blog regularly reveals).

  4. It will be true.
    I remember an employee once asked a question of senior management regarding registration on the Construction Industry Scheme, the response published on our internal network. The employee was concerned about the numbers of people coming in the door of their tax office to register for CIS giving their passports as ID. On their passports it said they were not entitled to work as condition of their visa. Should we be registering these people? The answer was, essentially, it's not any of our business. It's just our duty to register them for tax and if we were to tell the Home Office we'd be in breach of the Data Protection Act.
    Hard to believe I know. So much for the law