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.

Monday, 2 August 2010

New PAYE System

HMRC have published a consultation that proposes that every employee be given a single computerised tax account, which will combine employment and NI records. HMRC will then have real time information on all of the payments made.

HMRC want the new system to be running within the lifetime of the current government.

However, given HMRC's track record wrt IT implementation, not everyone is convinced that this will happen according to plan/timeframe.

Accountancy Age quote, Lesley Fidler, tax director at Baker Tilly:

"While it is important that there be aspirational goals for our tax system, HMRC does not have a strong record of implementing IT projects.

Anyone who was involved with the short-lived attempt at paying tax credits via the payroll will hope that this fresh initiative will be fully researched, adequately piloted and sufficiently funded before it goes live

Given the proposed cuts in government expenditure, and HMRC's past track record wrt IT projects I am inclined to agree with Ms Fidler that this may be an aspiration that is a "tad overoptimistic".

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. They cant be serious, the new PAYE service within HMRC doesnt work as it is. (Although the senior managers claim it works perfectly)

  2. (Although the senior managers claim it works perfectly)

    It does work.

    The system sends out incorrect codes and people pay too much tax, they then cannot get through to the call centers to get it sorted out.

    Wheres the problem?

  3. 2 Aug 15:26

    Oh its awful the whole system believe me, I work in one of the CC's and its hideous.

  4. "(Although the senior managers claim it works perfectly)"

    Err. Perhaps you ought to actually read the discussion document in question, which clearly states near the start that the whole point of having a discussion paper is that the want to decide how to improve a system that's in need of improvement.

    The Accountingweb article perfectly illustrates the fact that there really is no pleasing some people. The proposals set out in the discussion paper represent genuinely innovative (and yes, possibly over-aspirational, but surely that's the whole point of a consultation process!) alternatives that could have people paying the right amount of tax much quicker while significantly reducing the burden of payroll work on businesses. Businesses don't exist to do admin related to tax - and they certainly make enough noise complaining about red tape - so you'd expect that they'd be positive about a system that reduces their involvement in calculating PAYE to just paying the gross salary once a month!

    Instead, the same professionals who frequently complain about the status quo now start wingeing about any attempt to improve the system! If they don't like the current system and they don't like the proposals in the discussion paper,comments are invited, so why don't they send constructive suggestions for how they think the system should be fixed? Why not post them on the web too so Ken can put a link in the blog?

    Could it be a coincidence that a significant number of Accountingweb's readership make their living from selling payroll and similar services to businesses?

    Unfortunately, it's true that government departments haven't exactly covered themselves in glory on IT projects (though such problems are almost universally exaggerated in the media; generally, after dire teething trouble, new systems generally seem to settle down to working...sort of). It's refreshing, therefore, to see that the people who have come up with the discussion paper proposals have at least had the sense to base their suggestion around BACS, a well-established and very reliable existing system!

    As one of the less rabid commenters on Accountingweb said: "Here is an idea for us to engage with and seems to be an opportunity to make representations about how to reform PAYE. The current system has been in place since the 1940s so it is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of us. What an incredible opprotunity to meaningfully contribute to something that could last as long."

    Accountingweb should get past their prejudices, stop publishing biased, one-sided, whining articles like this (Rebecca Benneyworth's comment - apparently posted at 0345 on Sunday morning!? - was certainly a step in a better direction), and start engaging constructively constructively!

  5. Sounds like a senior manager to me. Ever been into a Tax Office or a Contact Centre, mate? Just go and push your friggin consultation paper up your arse. Want to make the organisation better? Resign, along with all your fellow leaches. Job done.

  6. Annoy 22.46

    Bosses Bullshit

  7. As someone who runs a small business and has a partner who works in a call centre emigration is looking like a good option.

  8. "Sounds like a senior manager to me. Ever been into a Tax Office or a Contact Centre, mate? Just go and push your friggin consultation paper up your arse. Want to make the organisation better? Resign, along with all your fellow leaches. Job done."

    Couldnt have put it better myself.

  9. Anom 2 August 2010 22:46

    Not quite sure why you delivered a long rant against Accounting Web, the piece I quoted was from Accountancy Age?

  10. Thanks to the 0052 and 0111 contributors for clearly illustrating my point!

    Name-calling really isn't going to get you very far.

    For the record i'm not management, I at no point claimed that there weren't significant problems with the present system (that's kind of the point!), including the situation in call centres and I do have the dubious honour of working in a tax office. We're all getting screwed over with frozen pay, threatened pensions and reduced rights and yet we all (I hope) care about providing the best service we can. You seem to agree that there's problems with the way the PAYE service is currently organised; why then are you so quick to dismiss any attempt to find a solution? If there are problems with the proposals, explain them. If they're up my rectum it's going to be a bit difficult to find solutions to them!

  11. Haha. Thanks for pointing that out, Ken. If anyone from Accounting Web reads this, please accept my apologies.

  12. My worry would be that the last major system upgrade was a disaster. You can claim as much as you want that it is incorrect data supplied by tax payers that caused the problem but at the end of the day it is obvious the new system was not fully tested.

    Now it looks like HMRC want to take the system further. Now I agree this sounds like something that should be looked into but maybe it should be looked into by different people and suppliers this time.

  13. Reading other reports about this subject are quite scary.

    Accountancy Web - The employer would then forward the funds to meet gross pay to a centralised deduction unit, which would compute the deductions and forward the net pay to the employee’s bank account. The balance would be retained by HMRC.

    The thought of outsourcing people’s pay to HMRC is the most ridicules idea they have ever come up with.

  14. The PAYE Service is shockingly crap. Errors and Flaws in it's design, processing abilities, automated functionality and even the ability for staff to perform simple processes are fueled with unnessery note making functions and other functions, and drop down menus, and options to tick... which don't work.

    I too work in an IRCC, and I like many other of the staff, dread that this shambles aint at it's end yet.

    The system cannot deal with simple functions that the old COP system had to offer, Employer's send in P45s and P46s online, the system automatically creates these as second incomes - why, because it's programmed that way.

    Time and time again my team point these flaws, errors and major issues in this system, for them to be ignored and several intranet messages and emails stating the system is working to design. BULLSHIT.

    The next year's coding run is doomed to replicate it's predicessor, as massive errors in the system's validation checks on matching information, fail to understand logic, and create the thousands of duplicated and old, redudant records, that HMRC Service Office and Contact Centre Staff have spent the past 7 months correcting.

    This system is shite. The problems within it will not be resolved by HMRC as it's deemed "too expensive".

    For the department to even try to start to catch up on the backlog, this system needs to be worked on and quickly. Or these persistant, predictable mistakes will continue to happen, until the Senior Management realise that this IT Application is not working, this system, if it did all that promised, would improve efficency, ease of use, speed and customer service - the sad, and crucial thing here is, had it been tested thouroguhally this mess would never have got so bad.

    This mess is caused by the problems dating back to when PAYE Service first appeared, these problems were highlighted at the first stage, and ignored - so these delays should be of no shock to HMRC, Senior Management or even taxpayers... as the service standards and speed of service has dramatically slided into Oblivion over the past 12 months.

    Please folks, us HMRC Front Line People do want to help, and are all more than aware that these problems, delays and excuses are unacceptable. But our hands are tied by HMRC management bullies, confusing processes, contradiciting guidance and an IT Service not fit for purpose. Don't take it out on us, please :).

  15. 8 August 2010 05:26 Said "Please folks, us HMRC Front Line People do want to help, and are all more than aware that these problems, delays and excuses are unacceptable. But our hands are tied by HMRC management bullies, confusing processes, contradiciting guidance and an IT Service not fit for purpose. Don't take it out on us, please"

    I keep seeing posts like this on this site but it is down to you to do something about it.

    You have a union that will loose you a couple days pay by getting you to strike and then waste loads of money on court cases when it is obvious that all the government has to do is change the law to get their way but yet they will not take on the HMRC management.

  16. As a payroll bureau we are just in despair - we spend so much time clearing up the mess that HMRC make of employees codes or being pursued for money they reckon our clients owe with letters that are frankly appalling. We received one today chasing an amout of money (no amount specified) for an undefined period, threatening court action. The top of the letter has no address, and the phone number is listed as 000 0000 000 - fantasitc. If HMRC think they can do our job they are nuts - they cannot even do their own. The gross to net calculation is the easy bit, it's all the useless rubbish that HMRC produce that creates the real challenge in our job.