The ongoing meltdown of HMRC has a number of causes, including the following:
-The complex taxation system of the UK
-The failed merger between the Revenue and Customs
-The shambolic government policy wrt tax changes
-Insufficient training and resources within HMRC, wrt IT and security issues
-The badly thought out, and incompetently managed, restructuring process
-The lack of sufficient and well trained resources within HMRC
-The incredibly incompetent and inept senior management within HMRC
However, the root cause of the above comes from the very "top" of the pile of compost that runs HMRC, or at least claims to run HMRC, ie the Treasury.
Tax is the largest single source of discontent among businessmen. There is very real concern over the fiscal changes, eg the scrapping of the 10% capital gains tax rate, which has been exacerbated by the Treasury's failure to consult business effectively.
Business is now questioning the Treasury's (and it officials') ability to deal with the economic downturn and to manage HMRC.
Richard Lambert, CBI director-general, said last week:
"A lot of people in the Treasury don't know what the hell it [a downturn] is and they're running around like (I will be polite and assume he said headless chickens)...That contributes to the uncertainty."
The Treasury is also lambasted by business leaders and politicians for the specific failings of HMRC, eg datagate and the ongoing tax credits fiasco.
The decision to transfer the administration of tax credits and child benefit to HMRC meant that the Treasury had, in effect, become a spending department in its own right. This is contrary to what the department, as guardian of the nation's purse strings, is meant to do.
Who therefore acts as "oversight" to the Treasury?
HMRC's problems will not be alleviated until there is a radical overhaul of the Treasury, both in terms of its remit and the quality of its resources. Regrettably that will not occur under this administration.
Headless chickens should not be in charge of HMRC.
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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