In a bizarre display of teamwork, normally reserved for serving the taxpayer or committing fraud for personal gain, seven HMRC staff members have been sacked for collusive racial misconduct wrt tampering with records resulting in minority ethnic claimants being underpaid child benefit.
The gang of seven were sacked on Tuesday from the HMRC contact centre in Belfast, after the results of an internal investigation were finalised. Two others resigned when the inquiry was launched earlier this year.
According to reports they tampered with computer records, which meant that a number of people from ethnic minority backgrounds across the UK were paid less money than they were entitled to.
The investigation began in January, when a customer complained that his/her records had been changed.
It also seems that computer records for other minority ethnic customers across the UK have been changed, meaning 17 people did not receive the benefits that they were entitled to.
All those affected have been reimbursed. It is not clear how much money was underpaid.
Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax at HMRC, is quoted in the Guardian:
"The vast majority of our people are entirely professional and one of the ways we support that professionalism is by taking decisive action against the tiny minority who let us all down by falling far short of those standards."
A couple of questions from this bizarre fraud immediately spring to mind:
1 How were the records altered without an exception report (which I assume is reviewed by senior management) highlighting the changes made, being reviewed and authorised?
2 What other records have been altered, not necessarily for racial bigotry but for personal gain?
Tax does have to be taxing.
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