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, 23 January 2009

Still Broken

Still Broken
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is still trying to fix a problem with its online tax filing system, three days after first becoming aware of it.

HMRC, several days ago, admitted that the system for self-assessed taxpayers was still inviting users to pay their tax via a change to next year's tax code.

The BBC note that a senior management meeting will be held by HMRC to try to fix it.

Surely there is a suitably qualified IT specialist within HMRC who can simply alter the coding?

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

9 comments:

  1. Depending on who you "talk" to at their helpdesk the little darlings also have a problem with sending out registration authentication codes if you have ever changed address.

    3rd January - online registration followed by week of waiting proudly on the doormat for an code via her Majesty's Royal Male to activate yonder account to completez-moi the Self Assessment.

    12th January - zippo, da nada, nothing. Told to wait (and, if possible, to hurry up and wait).

    15th January - zippo, da nada, nothing. Told to hurry up and try registering again.

    21st January - zippo, da nada, nothing. Advised by a giggly young voice that there "may be an issue if you've changed address". Go away and wait a bit. Sadly, we will fine you automatically if you haven't SA'd by the 31st but next time you ring ask for a call reference number and that will help you in your appeal... (I kid you not).

    23rd January - zippo etc., told in no uncertain terms by the, ahem, "helpdesk" that they were not gong to get into an argument with me (huh?) and that I should wait longer because it's only just over the seven days they advertise for the code to arrive since my last attempt to register online) and then I should - yup, go online and try registering again if it hasn't arrived in a few days.

    I haven't even mentioned the "online help" because, well - all they ever say is to ring the telephone helpdesk...

    Moral of the comment? Cut out the middle man and just send HMRC a cheque for £100 at the start of January...

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  2. Following my 2 attempts to file online (which Ken featured last week), I called HMRC yesterday and eventually got through.

    I explained the issues to the helpdesk... only to be told that it was my equipment at fault.

    I'm a freelance I.C.T consultant working mainly for the public-sector (ironic huh?), but I wasn't about to correct her on the phone ;)

    First, it was the firewall causing the Error 500 (internal server error). I told her I had tried on another machine from a different connection... to which she replied

    "it could be the security settings on your PC"

    An incorrectly configured firewall/privacy setting can cause problems when browsing sites which require complex javascript & session cookies... but error 500's are as they suggest, "Internal" server errors and cannot be resolved at a client level. Where did the "technical" staff acquire their "qualifications"... a Which? magazine?

    I asked her to check if she could see my attempts to login.

    "No... you haven't logged in since you registered in 2006"
    "What? I was mid-way through filing online last year when the entire system threw a wobbly and gave a couple of suicide notes to explain that it was offline"
    "Oh yes, I can see you completed a return last year."
    "I didn't... it crashed; and you charged me £100. In light of these issues, can I return on paper?"
    "Yes, but you will receive a fine"

    Charmin' ! Ironic really... when you consider their press release today read

    "Taxpayers have been told they will not suffer because of a problem with the HM Revenue & Customs computer system."

    The problem is... the "technical" (I use that term very loosely) team know all the buzzwords which sound great to unsuspecting punters; but clearly haven't the knowledge to even begin to understand what they mean.

    If I hadn't bothered attempting to file at all, I'd have no problem paying a £100 penalty... but I've got better things to do than chase a seemingly inept government organisation (oxymoron anyone?) to give them more money to throw down the drain.

    I spent a further 32 minutes on hold this morning; but there's only so often you can hear the same recording before you lose patience. Perhaps I should bill them £47.50 for lost time ;)

    Perhaps the moral should be... file on paper. OK, it could get lost but it would be a refreshing change for confidential information to be lost on the way to HMRC ;)

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  3. "Surely there is a suitably qualified IT specialist within HMRC who can simply alter the coding?"
    That is unlikely since its the civil service and all IT services were handed over to private companies to create & run.And they were paid millions to take it on. Apparently its more efficient and provides better customer service.
    "Where did the "technical" staff acquire their "qualifications""
    They don' have qualifications in IT - they are call centre staff reading from a script and looking up the answers on a very slow, intranet site. Apparently its more efficient and provides better customer service.

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  4. I have to say that, lovely as they can be, if the staff at the HMRC "technical" "helpdesks" were representative of the Nation's headlights we'd be sitting wrapped around a tree at the moment with the radiator steaming and the airbags wheezing. Oh - hang on a minute...

    Just received another technical reply to my most recent "technical" communication. I restated that after three attempts I still hadn't received an activation code and so could not file and that upon trying the telephone "helpdesk" again they said to contact help online... Reply from online "help" says ... 'Please contact the telephone helpdesk...'

    We're not spiralling down a u-bend, I have more of a sense of being swept in a spiral up something.

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  5. I wonder how much it's going to cost to write to the people involved to explain there's been yet another cockup?

    They don' have qualifications in IT - they are call centre staff reading from a script and looking up the answers on a very slow, intranet site.

    That explains a lot...

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  6. If you don't like the service then complain (and no I don't mean bitching on this or other internet forums). If enough complain then it will aquire a political priority (meaning that its in the interests of those that govern to do something about it).

    If you and others finally get around to changing the system, don't then start bitching about the cost of your civil service. To put it simply you ain't gonna get something for nothing.

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  7. Anonymous said...
    If you don't like the service then complain (and no I don't mean bitching on this or other internet forums). If enough complain then it will aquire a political priority (meaning that its in the interests of those that govern to do something about it).

    Aw! Bless!

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  8. If enough complain then it will aquire a political priority (meaning that its in the interests of those that govern to do something about it).

    Ignorance and naivety in the same sentence...

    HMRC's own staff complained to upper "management" to no avail; hence the disgruntled lemmings forum. I don't think corporate governance has the desired effect when those involved can rewrite the rules to suit themselves.

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  9. In my Experience you complain and get further into the depts of incompetence. Tier 1, Tier 2, all 8ollocks as the complaints are inhouse and look after HMRC.

    The only possible route is the Adjudicators office - oh wait a minute, isn't that the Guvverment too?

    The pigs get their snouts deeper in the trough.

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