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.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Hanging On The Telephone - Deadline Extended

Hanging on the Telephone
Owing to a deluge of last minute calls to HMRC, from people trying to renew their tax credits before last Saturday's 8PM deadline, HMRC's call centres were overloaded and many could not get through.

Therefore HMRC have extended the deadline by a few days, and have stated that they will look "sympathetically" on late callers, on a "case by case basis" (if claimants can show that they tried to ring on Saturday).

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. They are all heart really.

  2. Anyone who thought they were a shower of shites, well now, what have you got to say for yourselves.

  3. 3 August 2010 14:22

    It's only a small gesture because they should be reasonable. Instead, we are expected to be grateful and thankful for their one-off reasonable action, because it is so rare?


  4. 14:22, I think you will find they are still a shower of shites. They just know when a possible riot is coming their way.

  5. They should have left the deadline as is and let the lazy so-and-sos go without.

  6. "if claimants can show that they tried to ring on Saturday". Good luck with that.
    "We have no record of your attempted call. Goodbye."

  7. 1457 and 1618,

    I think, possibly, 1422's hint of irony may have passed you by.

  8. There has always been an extension of time given to the lazy idle gits that year after year fail to renew their claims on time. There are thousands of claimants who do this every year. Had the deadline been kept to rigidly right from the start, it is relatively safe to assume that that course of action may have "educated" these claimants, after all they have had since the 6th April to do it. Same thing happens every year with SA. People phoning up at 10pm on 31st January asking for new user ID to file on line. Trouble is that that takes around 7 days to POST out.

  9. 3 August 2010 22:54

    14.22 here.


  10. 16:18 here as well, I know.

    I agree with 4 August 2010 00:02 but then I do not get any hand outs so maybe biased.

  11. I don't suppose it's worth mentioning that the real-time PAYE system outlined in HMRC's recent discussion paper and roundly slammed on here and Accountancy Age would make nearly all of this fuss redundant.

    Of course, it would've helped if Gordon Brown hadn't insisted that the Tax Credit system was designed to be entirely unworkable, in the face of the advice he was given by the Inland Revenue and the Treasury...

  12. I don't suppose it's worth mentioning that the real-time PAYE system outlined in HMRC's recent discussion paper and roundly slammed on here and Accountancy Age would make nearly all of this fuss redundant.

    Does it work?

  13. Theoretically any system could work, but the point is that irrespective of their double talk, clap trap, or how much they crack their whip, HMRC management are incapable of getting their existing systems to work. Therefore, unless there are fundamental management changes first, all that would happen is that they would waste even more money than they are now.
    Trevor Scott

  14. 1623: "Does it work?"

    It's a proposed system that's just been outlined in an early stage consultation paper. It's not even been fully designed yet. The whole point of consultation is to gather opinions and possible issues before spending time and money on design. In that context, I'm afraid I don't understand the relevance of your question.

    Xog: "Theoretically any system could work"


    "fundamental management changes"

    Is a change of government a good start?

    No need to answer that; I'm just being facetious. Seriously, though, what fundamental changes would you suggest?

    I agree that the management of HMRC leaves a hell of a lot to be desired, though I prefer not to express it in quite such an excitable way as many here. We mustn't lose sight of the fact that they've been required by the government to deliver an inherently unpopular service in the context of an tax system which the government has made increasingly complex(*), a tax credits system that the government's own specifications doomed to failure from the start (to come back to your peculiar "theoretically..." claim this is a system that tax and benefits professionals said from the start wasn't feasible) and, of course, massive government-imposed cuts to budget and numbers.

    The above can't even come close to excusing what's happened of course. Management:
    - have promoted a top-down command and control culture which has dramatically reduced mutual trust, productivity and morale;
    - seem to have taken great pleasure in exceeding the government's targets for head-count reduction;
    - have done some ridiculous things with enquiry centres (where taxpayers are now directed to a phone line to the contact centres - ridiculous);
    - seem to be unaware that there are any HMRC staff members north of Watford;
    - do frankly stupid things like the Deepak Singh pay-off Ken has blogged about. Apart from the naivety of PR issues this demonstrates, it appears to stem from the people involved not actually being familiar with, or consulting about, tax avoidance issues. Crazy.
    - don't seem to be able to negotiate a supplier contract. To be fair most of the stories that have come out relate to contracts negotiated under previous management but, as I'm sure you are, I'm skeptical about whether things have improved.

    (* - The tax system has become significantly more complex for corporates and others entering into complex transactions. This has been driven by an over-reliance by the government on reliefs and exemptions and the inevitable consequent increase in avoidance. I'm not convinced that the tax system - setting aside tax credits - has become materially more complicated for individuals.)

  15. I feel that HMRC will never be able to implement any large system changes without there being huge problems.

    Possible Reasons:

    Front line staff morale is so low they are not on board for further change.

    Suppliers appear to get away with suppling faulty systems and do not appear to have to fix them without further negotiation/payment.

    Having dealt with public sector IT projects myself I have seen the level of IT literacy held by the people controlling the projects and it was not high.

  16. 0919 here.

    First a correction. "xog:" should've read "Trev:"


    I fully agree with all of the reasons you have set out (though I would argue that replacing a system with one that requires significantly less human intervention, as would be the case with real-time PAYE, would reduce the impact of the first one).

    I don't think it follows, however, that the organisation should therefore not attempt to introduce new systems to replace ones (like PAYE processing) that are now obsolete. Rather than adopting a defeatist attitude that such projects shouldn't be undertaken, underlying isues like the ones you've identified (particularly, I think, the last one) need to be addressed.

  17. I do not think it is a defeatist attitude to worry about HMRC introducing more systems that could impact even more on peoples lives when they clearly have got things so very wrong up until now.

  18. I didn't say it was defeatist to worry. I said it's defeatist to say from the outset, as some have, that attempts to improve the situation shouldn't be made.

  19. I am,now,defeatist. I have had every last scrap of enthusiasm and fight ground out of me. Just waiting to be sacked.

  20. 12:46, I hate to be the one to add to your worries but there is very little chance of you being sacked. You may be threatened a lot with dismissal but the management have not got any balls really.

    Just ask them to put everything in writing or ask the to explain their comments in writing and you will soon see the twats back down.