"I work for HMRC in one of their contact centres so would like to clear up a little myth surrounding overpayments relating to Tax Credits, if I may. The overpayments that are constantly mentioned are as a direct result of taxpayers not notifying HMRC of their change of circumstances, not an error by HMRC.
If a taxpayer does not inform the HMRC that they have had a pay rise or that the costs of their childcare has decreased or stopped altogether, how the hell are we meant to know?
Every single person who receives Tax Credits is sent a notice instructing them to notify HMRC if certain circumstances change.
If the claimant fails to do so, it is not HMRC's fault that they have been overpaid."
I have to say I have a degree of sympathy for the HMRC staff who have to endure the "stupidity" of the general public, many of the public don't fill in the forms on time/correctly or understand even the rudimentary basics of the tax system.
However, let us not forget that were it not for the monumental arrogance and love of complexity that Brown has for all things we would never have had this monumentally complicated and unwieldy tax credit system foisted on us in the first place.
It is this system that, aside from humiliating people by making them "beg" for state handouts, has forced a whole tranche of people into direct bureaucratic contact with HMRC who have no clue about form filling or basic bureaucratic administration.
This problem (bureaucratic, cost and dignity) could be resolved at the stroke of a pen, by simply abolishing tax credits and increasing personal allowances to a more sensible level of around £10K-£12K.
Unfortunately, as long as Brown is PM, this is not going to happen. The tax credit system is a monument to his arrogance and disdain for ordinary people.
That being said there is another problem with tax credits, namely HMRC's administration of them.
Confidential tapes and internal documents have exposed bullying and bungling in the tax credit scheme that will cost us £2.8BN.
Over 1.5M people have been told that they were overpaid tax credits and should now give back the money. HMRC have spread the lie that it was their own fault (funny how the comment I referred to above was posted twice, just at the same time that this story has come to light!) and informed some victims they had no right of appeal.
The reality you see is somewhat different, using evidence from HMRC's own case files victims of HMRC bullying have proven that HMRC errors are to blame.
It would seem that HMRC offices are in disarray, random errors are infecting claimants' computer files, and HMRC officials are lying to claimants about their right of appeal.
The cost of this shambles is £2.8BN, which HMRC will write off; why not, it's only our money?
Amongst the screw ups uncovered are the following:
- HMRC computer routinely wiped out claimants' salaries, thus triggering overpayments.
- Duplicate rogue files caused errors and sent out multiple awards.
- Victims were sent letters claiming they had "no right of appeal" when they were pursued for overpayments caused by official error.
It is an abomination!
It must be abolished now!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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