Yesterday's article about the meltdown going on at HMRC seems to have stirred up a few loyal readers, as there have been a number of "heated" comments posted.
One comment that did catch my eye, in particular, was this one from an anonymous (I assume) member of HMRC.
"Muppets? If the people employed by private companies ie accnt asd book keepers knew what they were doing the "Customer Service" contact centres wouldnt be so inundated with other calls and we could deal with this mess ... caused by our PRIVATE SECTOR IT supplier. But people on here would rather blame the civil servants who have a very limited right to complain back due to impartiality etc."
Disregarding the blame being laid at the door of the taxpayer for not knowing how the tax system works, the very interesting/relevant point being raised is that the blame should be laid at the door of the IT supplier (I will also disregard the anti private sector invective, given that if there were no private sector there would be no taxes to support the public sector).
HMRC have publicly stated that the problem has occurred because the old systems contained several data sets that were not compatible when merged in the new system, and that this is a one off problem that will work its way through.
That does not sound like it to be the IT supplier's fault, but more of a case of lack of testing (which I would assume was the responsibility of HMRC who should have been driving the systems upgrade process)?
However, on the assumption that it is the IT supplier's fault my question is this:
What are HMRC going to do about it?
I assume that the contract with the particular IT supplier has penalty clauses for such issues, on this basis will HMRC be making a claim for restitution?
Were the contract not to have such a clause, then one could argue that HMRC did not negotiate a very good deal on behalf of the taxpayer.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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