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, 30 July 2010

Debt Collection Farmed Out


A few weeks ago I noted the following:

"HMRC debt collection agents out in the field are now forbidden from contacting HMRC offices to validate the debts that they are being asked to collect.

For why?

It seems that the support teams back at base do not have the time to take phone calls.

That at least is the official explanation given to the field farce. However, it is widely suspected that the real reason is that HMRC is preparing the ground for this work to be given to private debt collection agencies. These private agencies, quite correctly, will not be able to phone up HMRC offices and ask for details from confidential records.

FYI, the budget announced that another £500M of debt would be handed over to private debt collection agencies to chase.

For why?

Well it seems that a pilot scheme went very well for the debt collection agencies.

The agencies were given a tranche of work to do, and a control tranche was left with HMRC teams (but was left completely untouched).

Can you guess what happened?

Yes, that's right, the debt collection agencies won!

Simple!
"

The FT now reports that four debt collection agencies (Commercial Collection Services, Credit Solutions, Fairfax Solicitors and iQor Recovery Services) will be used by HMRC to collect an extra £140M of tax owed this year.

I dare say a wander through Google may well highlight the "house style" and "idiosyncrasies" of these firms (eg iQor Recovery).

HMRC cite the fact that their "pilot scheme" (that I referred to a few weeks ago) was so successful, that using private firms is therefore a good idea.

We shall see!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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9 comments:

  1. This is a scam the bosses have been brewing a long time. Disable your own people and hand the work to outsiders. They will mess it up.How do I know?. They always have. HMRC tried to had their own payroll to an outside contractor. Ask some Rev staff how well that went.They are back doing their own now.
    Some of the US style tactics used across the pond in debt collecting will not go down well over here.There are a lot of religious types in the US so they say stuff like "Do you think God approves of you owing this money?".
    Another one is to ask the wife if she is happy being married to a man who owes money (assuming the debt is in hubby's name). I think there will be hell to pay if they try that sort of crap over here.

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  2. I dealt with IQOR with regards to the Child Support Agency and they use tactics like looking up a relatives telephone number, and calling them three or four times a day in an attempt to put pressure on you. They also make threats of legal action when they have not been authorised to go that far.

    If HMRC are planning to use these types of companies then I am afraid the staff on the telephones should be prepared for a lot of abuse that will come your way.

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  3. Actually,Ken, it's not £140 million. It's £500 million. We were mislead by the weasel way this was announced,as well.

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  4. If HMRC are planning to use these types of companies then I am afraid the staff on the telephones should be prepared for a lot of abuse that will come your way.

    IF HMRC are planning to use these methods then the companies that are collecting the debt will also be responsible for taking the complaint calls.

    Considering that most private companies refuse to talk to their customers as soon as they are referred to DCA's why should HMRC be any different?

    As usual the public will want to have their cake and eat it over their tax liabilities.

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  5. IF HMRC are planning to use these methods then the companies that are collecting the debt will also be responsible for taking the complaint calls.

    Dream on mate, they will be acting on behalf of HMRC not actually buying the debt from them.

    As usual the public will want to have their cake and eat it over their tax liabilities.

    Maybe we should take the same simplistic view to the fact that HMRC staff provide crap service. And stop believing it is all down to bad management.

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  6. 30 July 2010 19:18 Posted

    As usual the public will want to have their cake and eat it over their tax liabilities.

    What makes you think that people who have negative points to make about HMRC don’t understand that paying taxes is necessary?

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  7. Get a solicitor ready to deal with them if there is a dispute over the tax owed. They debt collectors will go away.

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  8. Although I agree with the poster @ 1 August 2010 12:32 it needs to be remembered that there are people who end up owing money and not being able to pay it through no fault of their own.

    It should be possible to deal with these cases directly with HMRC but as we all know HMRC take along time to deal with anything. There may be times where these cases end up with these collection agencies and the collection style of some of these agencies will put more pressure on people than required.

    Now there will be people that find this situation acceptable but as someone who has been through this myself I can assure you that when your family falls apart and you end up homeless it is not funny. Then just to rub salt in the wounds the outstanding balance is reduced by some 90% once the people involved actually get their act together.

    I would like to point out that this case did not involve HMRC but another agency but the question is will the results be the same.

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  9. "Well it seems that a pilot scheme went very well for the debt collection agencies."
    Actually, I think you may have a spelling mistake. Surely this is more of a "Pilate" scheme.

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