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, 1 July 2010

Debt Collection III

I understand from a loyal reader that the HMRC Field Farce saga continues.

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!


Anyhoo, why does it matter if field farce teams (or for that matter private debt collectors) cannot contact HMRC support offices?

Surely a debt is a debt, which should be collected, and that is the end of the matter?

Not quite, for I am also given to understand that the field farce estimate that a large percentage (maybe up to 60%) of the debts they are given to chase up are in fact incorrect.

The field farce have been told that, if challenged by a "customer" (taxpayer to you and I), the onus is on the "customer" to prove that HMRC are wrong.

Guilty until proven innocent is the motto!

How can there be such a large percentage error in debts being chased up?

Due to delays in processing returns, field farce are regularly chasing estimated debts which have been, or should have been, displaced by returns submitted. The returns have either gone down the online black hole, again a regular occurrence, or are sitting in an office somewhere waiting to be dealt with.

Additionally, when they are chasing current PAYE, their cases are sometimes prepared up to 3 weeks in advance.

Guess what?

Most have been paid by the time they get to them.

I won't say what I was told about the validity of New Tax Credit debts!

Things will only get worse!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Yup - I had a client in exactly that position. Papers filed, debt paid, but collector banging down the door (in front of my client's customers) demanding payment. The office finally admitted they had the paperwork but simply hadnt bothered updating their systems for a few weeks, and didnt tell the collection teams if money being chased was no longer due.

  2. The other thing to watch on this is the private companies making threats of legal action when they are not authorised to do so.

    I dealt with IQOR for a while regarding arrears and the CSA. IQOR's actions led to the debt being written off. Cheers Guys!!!!

  3. I had a debt collector around for around £20k. When I told him I had paid the amount, he told me that the payment i made was taken "without prejudice" and he was here to collect.

    Bless him!

  4. Well, I just opened up a letter to find a warning of enfarcement (typo intentional) by distraint. Having paid PAYE Robbery & Cretins have threatened to auction off my property. I have had enough of this nonsense and will be closing down my business and will go contracting. I can make a nice fat income, no employees to worry about, no tax shenanegans to worry about and life will be easy. Honestly, do these little gestapo prats have any idea of the damage they are doing with these methods of tax collecting? I really feel that the current tax regime was put together by gordon clown in an attempt to suppress the rising middle-class and grow a vast nation of wage slaves. I guess that is what liebor have always been about: tax, spend and control.

  5. Or you could just give them a quick ring, and ask for confimation that its been paid. And pay when you're meant to ( on time )next time. Wanker.

  6. Or you could just give them a quick ring, and ask for confimation that its been paid. And pay when you're meant to ( on time )next time. Wanker.

    I agree with the part about paying on time but can you explain what you mean by a 'quick ring'?