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.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Animal Farm II

Animal Farm II
It would appear that, as I stated in January, HMRC are most definitely fans of George Orwell; in particular his work "Animal Farm". In this book the animals take over the farm; the pigs then betray the other animals and impose a dictatorship, using the following slogan to justify their actions:

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Thus it appears to be with HMRC's proposed new rules wrt timebars on making claims for tax errors.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are proposing to cut the number of years taxpayers will have to claim back any tax overpayments/overcharges. Fair enough, maybe, if the rule is also applied to HMRC's right to reclaim underpaid tax. However, there is one small fly in HMRC's oinkment, HMRC don't intend to apply the same timebar to their right to claim underpaid tax from the taxpayer.

When taxpayers are wrongly charged, they currently have 6 years to claim back their money. However, HMRC want to cut that time to 4 years. They want, of course, to retain their right to reclaim underpaid tax for up to 6 years.

Those who are most likely to suffer from tax overpayments are those on low incomes; as the system for extra allowances, tax credits and pensions is so complex that HMRC and the taxpayers are more often than not at a loss to understand it.

Additionally, to add to the confusion, HMRC does not keep all of its information about taxpayers together in one place.

Given the complexity and muddle of the tax system, why is that HMRC want to cut back on the rights of taxpayers to reclaim overpaid tax yet not apply the same rules to itself?

Hardly fair is it?

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

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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3 comments:

  1. I was always led to believe that HMRC could investigate underpayment of tax as far back as they liked. However, there was a practical limit of seven years, AIUI, because they couldn't guarantee they could find their records if it was any longer ago. Oh well, yet another urban myth.

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  2. I thought that was only in cases of suspected fraud.

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  3. For Income Tax and Corporation Tax, if there is not found to be fraud or negligence, the time limit is 6 years. If there is, it is 21.

    See http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/emmanual/EM3270.htm

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