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.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


HMRC have published a consultation document "Establishing the future relationship between the tax agent community and HM Revenue & Customs", for which the closing date for comments is 16 September 2011.

For those who are agents, and for those who use agents (sadly HMRC use the "C" word in the document), it is an important document; as the outcome will define (as it says on the tin) "the future relationship between the tax agent community and HMRC".

HMRC (page 6) note that tax agents "play a vital role in the delivery of the tax system which could not function effectively without them"; and HMRC, to their credit, identify that there are problems with the current "relationship":

Page 10:

"HMRC should provide a service for agents… which should aim to be less costly and time consuming than the current service allows; this service should be simple, easy to use and place control in the hands of those using it."

Page 16:

"For others, there is dissatisfaction with the quality of service for some of their basic transactional needs which add to client and HMRC costs: this can lead to non-chargeable time, or more seriously can damage the agent/client relationship."

However, there is one rather large element within the document that may cause some concern within the agent community. HMRC propose a system of agent enrolment with HMRC, thus giving "enrolled" agents access to (for want of a better word) "premium" HMRC services.

Fair enough, maybe, although an argument could be made that "premium" services are what HMRC should be providing now anyway.

However, notwithstanding that "minor" criticism, HMRC (page 10) note "as only HMRC holds data on how tax agents and their clients comply with tax obligations, it is for HMRC to monitor performance of this using risk based principles. Where shortcomings are identified, the first step will always be for HMRC to discuss those with the agent direct to determine whether a problem does exist, and what might be done to remedy it."

Could this be HMRC suggesting (albeit in a round about way) that it wants to "police" tax agents, and possibly act as a regulatory authority that can remove an agent's authority to act as an agent?

HMRC (page 28) try to assuage fears that they are seeking to become a regulatory body:

"HMRC believes that structured self governance of the tax agent market is the correct model for a future relationship."

In this context, in order to see the "bigger picture", I suggest that you read an article I wrote in February 2010 about the legal definition of tax adviser/agent.

However, irrespective of what I say, it is for the agents to judge where this may lead and for them to provide feedback on this consultation.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Approved by whom?
    Those that make and break their own rules that's who!
    So, would you want to trust the Glorious 103rd to "police" this system fairly?
    Never mind losing "approved" status, imagine trying to "engage" with them via any "preferred" method, would you have to pay for this premium service and what about non-approved agents, would they have any method to utilise to represent their um, clients, phew, almost said the othe C word then, stupid cnut!
    And what next, will we see HMRCISSHITE sponsored by their own "CUSTOMERS", there said it, got it off my chest.
    It will have sponsored TV conferences with a backdrop showing their big 6 commercial sponsors (policy makers) drawn from the world of accounting, banking, mobile communications!!!, I.T., "entertainment" and pension "management".
    Any suggestions for the relative position fillers? Too late, they are already in place and you didn't even know it.
    Smoke and mirrors...

  2. "Establishing the future relationship between the tax agent and HMRC" How's about establing the current relationship with your workforce first?!
    Again, you couldn't dream it up.
    Upset the tax agents beyond anything previously seen, be so crap at "engagement" with your workforce that you are now known as the glorious 103rd, appear consistently in the press, TV and blogsphere in such a bad light as to be degrading and then launch this "customer centric experience"!
    FFS who is going to put an end to this - let's get Ken Dodd in to improve service levels as a start.
    Then we get the previous labour "Government" back to sort out the fecking mess they caused!

  3. It must a cause for concern somewhere - how much are this bunch of idiots costing us to collect that which is due.
    Makes you wonder if they will be charging you to pay tax soon?
    Mind you, if the one at the top says she can't answer tax questions because she is not a tax expert what do you expect?

  4. The "customer" nonsense has led to Customer Relationship Managers who care more about their relationship with the taxpayer than they do about enforcing tax law.

    Now, the loonies in charge want to create tax agents whose livelihood depends more on their relationship with HMRC than the interests of their clients (who can correctly be called customers, although it is too consumerist for professional relationships... (hint, hint)).

    More nonsense.

  5. Don't be fooled by this feeble attempt by HMRC to repair the damage to their reputation - all self-inflicted through dogma, mismanagement and ineptitude. It's just the latest "flavour of the month" PR exercise. Sounds great, but here is no genuine sincerity in it and there certainly aint no substance to it.