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.

Thursday, 30 July 2009


Simple! is a story as per

Seemingly a 13 year project undertaken by HMRC to rewrite tax law (with the objective of making it easier to understand) is soon to come to a close.

Well, Timms is impressed and notes that "direct tax legislation is now far more accessible and easier to apply..."

What say you "Joe Public"?

After 13 years of activity, the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Tax Law Rewrite Project is to end next year, the Treasury has announced.

Launched in 1996, the project is responsible for rewriting direct tax legislation, to make it clearer and easier for users to understand.

“The Tax Law Rewrite project has played a key role in modernising our tax legislation and its work has rightly been widely praised,” commented Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury. "The mainstream direct tax legislation is now far more accessible and easier to apply than the legislation that went before and when the project’s next two Bills are enacted, the time will be right to bring this work to an end.

Since its creation, the project has resulted in 6 pieces of legislation and tax regulations being rewritten, including: The Capital Allowances Act 2001; The Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003; The Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005; The Income Tax Act 2007; The Corporation Tax Act 2009; and The PAYE Regulations.

The main goals of the project are to reproduce tax legislation in a clearer, more logical tax structure with use of plain language while attempting not to alter the main tax policies.

A high level Steering Committee, chaired by Lord Newton of Braintree, oversees the project. A Consultative Committee, consisting of representative bodies and other interested parties, also meets on a regular basis to consider issues and the draft legislation in more detail.

“With the completion of the project’s work, legislation for the mainstream direct taxes will now be much easier for users to navigate and understand,” Timms continued. “This is a very significant achievement and I am grateful for the contribution of everyone involved in it.”

The second Corporation Tax Bill and the Taxation (International and Other Provisions) Bill, which rewrites provisions that deal mainly with international taxation issues, is expected to be enacted in the spring of 2010.

Work currently on hand will be completed by the end of 2009/10, with only minor amendments to existing rewritten legislation to be undertaken after that, the Treasury informed.

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

What is TAXWISE?

TAXWISE is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Taxwise

Tax Investigation for Dummies, by Nick Morgan, provides a good and easy to read guide for anyone caught up in an HMRC tax investigation. A must read for any Self Assessment taxpayer.

Click the link to read about: Tax Investigation for Dummies

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"


  1. Tax law is certainly explained in a far clearer way than it used to be. I recall being unable to figure out if I could claim an expense in about 1992 as it appeared to be covered in about 4 places in the booklets and they said different things.

    What we really need though is more sensible and consistent laws. Why do we need separate tax and NI systems with slightly different rules for a start?

  2. PS That darn Meercat again!!

  3. I agree, Xoggoth (which may surprise some people as I'm the same anonymous who posted the recent essay about avoidance). I disagree with many of the proposals that are often put forward for trying to simplify taxes - I consider flat taxes to be a vague (does it refer to direct or indirect tax, for a start), unfair (see Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs) and pretty half-baked (in that having a flat tax rate doesn't, in itself, materiall simplify the tax system) idea, for example. I agree on the NI front, however. When you look closely at most of the features of tax law they are, believe it or not, pretty sensible. Different bits which are on the surface very similar often work in different ways, but when you look closely you can see that there's a good reason why this is the case. Normally it's either to prevent avoidance or prevent people being double-taxed.

    As far as I can see, however, the reasons why income tax and NI differ in areas such as the classification of benefits are purely historical and needlessly complicated.

    Personally I don't think we should have NI at all. It's a regressive tax and the link between contributions and benefits is a bit of a nonsense - entitlement should be based on need (a bit of a loony-lefty point of view for this blog, I know)! The reason why this is unlikely to happen any time soon, of course, is that the government's income from national insurance is equal to about 70% of that from income tax. The politicians would somehow have to sell a large increase in other taxes to cover the shortfall.