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.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Secret - A 19



Yesterday I wrote that there may be an opportunity to use HMRC relief A19, in the event that you are on the receiving end of a tax demand from HMRC for tax that they should have collected a few years ago.

However, those of you who try to look for A19 within the HMRC website may be a tad disappointed.

A helpful flow chart explaining how it works used to be there, but now exists no longer.

For why?

"This text has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000"

Don't believe me?

Ask Nick Morgan.


Evidently HMRC do not want to help taxpayers understand how the tax system works.



Tax does have to be taxing.

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31 comments:

  1. That flowchart is much too easy to understand, no doubt it will be replaced with something completely unintelligible soon.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes there is. This is from the web-site

    Making a claim

    If you think this concession applies to you, then you need to telephone HMRC on 0845 300 0627 indicating that you are making a claim under 'ESC A19'. You will need to provide the following information:

    what tax year and underpayment the claim relates to
    what information HMRC failed to make proper and timely use of and any supporting information
    what date this information was provided
    reason(s) why you thought your tax affairs were in order prior to receiving the Tax Calculation

    HMRC will consider your claim but may need to verify details with you before giving you a decision.

    Please note that there is no legal right of appeal but you can ask for another officer to review the decision made.

    If you still believe that you should not have to pay the tax after a second review decision has been provided, please read 'How to Complain to HMRC' to decide if your case has not been dealt with properly.

    There is a page telling you all about it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Link to web page:

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/esc/esc.htm

    ReplyDelete
  4. http://www.accountancyage.com/aa/taking-stock-blog/2118238/hmrc-false-paye-names

    http://www.accountancyage.com/aa/analysis/2118553/true-story-paye-figures

    Oh no sorry I forgot people on this blog usually go ape if anyone doesn't offer to hold their hand all the time and probably can't do something as complicated as copying and pasting from one box to another (cos anything else is just bad customer service). HMRC are wrong all the time and everyone else is blameless.

    Let's try again.

    HMRC 'X' over false PAYE names

    and

    The true story behind the PAYE figures

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Revenue does not follow the A19 flow chart anyway. If you ring them all they ask is whether you thought your tax was in order. They do not consider whether your belief was reasonable. Presumably this is because the calls are being dealt with by harrassed advisers in a call centre who dont have time to argue the case.

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  6. Another day reconciling incomplete records at HMRC towers and despite hitting 64 completed records, again I have yet to see any HMRC errors. I did however see a rather 'efficient' employer who has been filing a certain member of staff's p11D's for the past 3 years under:
    a. The wrong name (surname missing a letter)
    b. The wrong DoB (a day out)
    c. Wrong NINO (first letter completely wrong).
    Result of 3 years worth of employer error is a hefty underpayment (which if Mr A Nother does call about will be cancelled by HMRC because it's employer error) But then again Mr. Nother has been getting codes for all the years which don't mention his company car nor fuel...
    I will always agree and speak up when I believe HMRC is in the wrong but if I'm honest the bulk of underpayment cases (that I have seen at least) are attributable to bad employers.
    HMRC ate my hamster.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, what is the case for a foreign national who came to the UK, legally, to work for a major company, who never got a P46 to fill in and who was assigned the wrong - too low - code by payroll that was allowed to then run for 3 years?

      Delete
    2. This is a very interesting question. Is such a situation an employer error?

      Delete
  7. Another day reconciling incomplete records at HMRC towers and despite hitting 64 completed records, again I have yet to see any HMRC errors. I did however see a rather 'efficient' employer who has been filing a certain member of staff's p11D's for the past 3 years under:
    a. The wrong name (surname missing a letter)
    b. The wrong DoB (a day out)
    c. Wrong NINO (first letter completely wrong).
    Result of 3 years worth of employer error is a hefty underpayment (which if Mr A Nother does call about will be cancelled by HMRC because it's employer error) But then again Mr. Nother has been getting codes for all the years which don't mention his company car nor fuel...
    I will always agree and speak up when I believe HMRC is in the wrong but if I'm honest the bulk of underpayment cases (that I have seen at least) are attributable to bad employers.
    HMRC ate my hamster.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Apologies for the double post ^

    ReplyDelete
  9. I used the ESC A19 route to avoid paying supposed underpayments, and had both years written off. I used template letters found on the internet, not HMRC site, and although it took a while to get a response the outcome was good. I had earnings from 3 sources all of which were government depts or pension agents of government depts, one of which was HMRC itself!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. To the double poster - relying on unpaid, untrained tax collectors (employers etc.) is bound to result in errors! But HMRC are supposed to be professionals - experts in the field - so mistakes are NOT expected.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @22 October 2011 10:28

    What planet are you living on?

    Sample Salary of a Payroll Admininistrator in the north-west (you know... that area that is economically disadvantaged?): £22,000 and £25,000 + substantial benefits package

    Average Salary of the HMRC staff who actually deal with such errors caused mostly by employers or people who don't bother to tell HMRC they have company benefits or other untaxed income then act as suprised as the Daily mail when such underpayment 'errors' occur: £17,580 - £19,724 NO benefits (and if our tax affairs aren't up to date it's a disciplinary offence)

    PLUS threat of dismissal/criminal investigation/prosecution around every corner for the kinds of misconduct most of my friends in the private sector (and even some public sector employees in other departments) admit they do on a weekly basis.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @22 October 2011 14:02

    Before anyone jumps to conclusions I've discounted the London pay scales as there are very few offices left in London and they generally don't have employees at AO grade who deal with PAYE and so the comparing apples with carebears argument comes in to play.

    ReplyDelete
  13. From what I gather the issue with many underpayments is no declaration of BIKs by employees leading to fuked up coding notices. But why is the system so arseways inclined? Both the Rep of Ireland and Guernsey have in the last 2 yeasr brought BIKs into payroll. Why is HMRC not pursuing this route?

    ReplyDelete
  14. "Why is HMRC not pursuing this route?"

    Good point. It would make things easier. But then employers would complain at having to do even more. Apparently their payroll staff are untrained and don't get paid (see 22 October 2011 10:28). Many just wouldn't bother so you would need more compliance investigations.

    Its much easier to blame HMRC staff for assessing whether the correct amount of tax has been paid.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Far be it from me to defend HMRC but if you've got a company car and you don't tell the taxman, don't start snivelling when you get a big tax bill.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am not taking a side here. It's 6 of one and half a dozen of another. But I would say that culturally, PAYE means that the majority of taxpayers in the UK know Nil about tax. Maybe it's time we mover to compulsory annual filing like the US. At least then people would have to generate some rudimentary knowledge of tax

    ReplyDelete
  17. @22 October 2011 15:55

    Unfortunately there are several hundred thousand uneducated tabloid readers (Mail/Express/Sun/Sport/Star/HMRCisShite) who think that - despite their collective ignorance - any unpaid tax bill is automatically the fault of someone else other than themselves. The version of Extra Statutory Concession A19 presented to them by the Daily Mail gives them a 'legal right' to say so apparently. Since when were concessions legal rights?

    ReplyDelete
  18. @22 October 2011 16:02

    Make each and every person of the UK responsible for their own actions regardless of income?

    Where did that crazy thought come from?!

    Oh wait. It already exists under Section 7 TMA1970? What???? The stationery office (who has published laws online for about a decade) and also the Daily Mail never TOLD THEM?!!??! I thought it was the job of the Daily Mail to tell people their rights???

    ReplyDelete
  19. @16.09 I realise it is incumbent on the taxpayer to self assess their own tax position but the act of having to file would force them to wake up to this. The fact of the matter is that most taxpayers are not aware of their responsibilities and the system operates to encourage this lack of awareness

    ReplyDelete
  20. @22 October 2011 16:21

    I am also aware. I'm just picking on DM as a target because they are soul-destroying. They lie to their readers and somehow get away with it.

    Take these articles for example.

    Paid to party on your tax.... since when was the last time you saw someone carrying a note that the 'party nun' was carrying. The 1970's-80's perhaps?

    Or an attempt to create a twee image from their favourite era before suggesting it's all those namby-pamby labour supporting civil servants from top that stopped the general public from reporting their correct income to HMRC as advised by several laws that have been in place for 41 years.

    ReplyDelete
  21. When was the last time anyone received a letter with the words on the back "On Her Majesty's Service" as suggested by the Daily Mail? 1990? 1995? 2000 maybe?

    If they (the Daily Mail) are something as simple as relying on the dumbness of their readership to accept 'nostalgic' images such as receiving letters from public departments who don't exist any longer - why do you trust them with the 'truth' about your current affairs?

    ReplyDelete
  22. @16.43 & 16.53 In truth I understand your position. There has been a lot of bollox in the press re this latest "blunder" which is rehashed news for a start and plain incorrect for seconds. Just to clarify, I am not HMRC staff and I have no problem bitching about some of HMRC's real failures. In this case (PAYE reconciliations)I feel the media has overdone it. No consolation to you HMRC boys and girls but I just thought I'd mention it anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh dear Ken. Just read all the comments on the post.

    Not quite what's meant to happen on this blog, is it?

    ReplyDelete
  24. @22 October 2011 21:05

    Yes it's a real shame when HMRC staff do what they are supposed to isn't it?

    It's a real 'shambles'.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Re "Anonymous said...

    Oh dear Ken. Just read all the comments on the post.

    Not quite what's meant to happen on this blog, is it?
    22 October 2011 21:05"

    I seem to recall a "wag", such as yourself, posting a comment a month or so ago mocking an article for not having many comments, and suggesting that showed no one was reading the site anymore.

    Now we have the reverse:)

    The site is designed to have comments/interaction from readers (whether they agree or disagree with what is posted).

    Were I not interested in having people comment, then I would simply disable the comment function or simply delete the comments.

    The more comments on the site (whatever they are) the happier I am:)

    So thank you everyone for posting your comments, please keep posting.

    Ken

    ReplyDelete
  26. @ 21.05 & 22.24 I posted the comments above saying I felt the press had overdone the criticism. Please dont get ahead of yourselves though. As the NAO report makes perfectly clear HMRC was running about 18 million "open" items on the reconciliation front as at 2008. The decision to hold over the next recons pending implementation of NPS functunality only added to the burden.It's hardly a clap on the back for HMRC. When I said the press had overdone it I meant: 1) It's old news (and I mean years old), 2) it's not a blunder per se, it's a long running systematic problem and 3) reports of an IT screw up seem to be way of the mark (correct me if I am wrong). Hopefully this clarifies my earlier posts. It would alos be remiss of me to say that your gloating posts are somewhat galling. There is plenty wrong with HMRC that should be encouraging you to take whatever solace you can in an acknowledging that this has been misreported and keeping your heads down.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I meant "acknowledgement". Fat fingers - sorry

    ReplyDelete
  28. @Ken

    Don't get me wrong as an HMRC staff member I realise things go wrong in HMRC and the reasons for it have been listed on the site many a time and ESC A19 should there to protect people when HMRC have f***ed up.

    However some newspapers went ahead and did their right-wing nonsense about lazy public servants. It's not quite like that. HMRC work/decision making has been very slowly centralised and has altered drastically even from the time I started.

    A couple of years before I joined, a member of staff in a single office (with an inspector in charge of the office) would have most likely had a pool of small employers (I dunno, 50 employers with 100 or less employees) to deal with or in the case of a large retail company, dedicated teams, which meant everyone was directly responsible.

    Move forward a few years, someone decides having multiple locations in a town is too expensive and in most cases everyone got lumped in to one (town) or 2 (city) and those employers/employees 'cases' could be worked by anyone within the office.

    Then a woman called Ann Chant came up with the idea of 'Area Management' imported from the DWP. Area management meant that slowly tax offices that were previously called 'Staines' or 'Epsom' became part of 'Surrey and North Hants Area'.


    This is where problems start to arise as this last change meant that several employers had their PAYE references changed to that of the dominant office. At this point it was still up to each office to allocate the references so if you were 'Nova Electronics' with a reference of 633/N123 your PAYE reference would become 765/SN123 (to signify where the employer files had been imported from.

    Over the same time this was happening, employer work was being centralised even more and employers dealing with paper P14's/P11D's etc were introduced in a staggered style to electronic filing to prepare for the introduction of NPS. Also local agreements with employers that had been agreed with local inspectors were being reviewed so that everyone had a fair deal.

    This is where things really started to go wrong, because the introduction of NPS meant no one person.team or office had 'ownership' of a case meaning that it got dealt with by the local offices customs which are all different and whilst national guidance is in place it's difficult not to forget inherited information as HMRC staff are organic beings like the rest of the UK. It also means that due to human nature people are more likely to cut corners knowing they won't be the person dealing with the consequences.

    If the work could be organised so that it was the same as several years ago (a person or team became attributable to a subset of employers/employees) coupled with the technology that allows HMRC staff to have an overview of that person so that simple queries could be answered even if it was the responsibility of another team to deal with that aspect that would be fffing fantastic!

    Don't be under any illusion that this will get better under RTI. Employers/Taxpayers/HMRC Management&Staff will still be prone to the same mistakes it's just that the tax effect will be seen quicker than before.

    ReplyDelete
  29. @23 October 2011 12:06

    I apologise that some of the posts were seen to be gloating. Unfortunately as a civil servant you are often told off for doing things the majority of the public expect you to do and it's the vocal minority that have never realised the fruition of their misplaced assertiveness, e.g. it yields nothing when displaced with actual fact.

    No one (except the genuinely evil) takes pleasure in someone having an unexpected financial burden placed on them that they cannot cope with because of mistakes that have been made in innocence.

    Unfortunately (as has been asserted here) people aren't aware of their obligations, either through 'shoulder-shaking selective ignorance' throughout their entire life or through genuine misunderstandings.

    ESCA19 requests seem to come from the former rather than the latter. It's ironic really as the same people who accuse civil servants as being 'layabouts' are the same people who are expected to take up the slack and have automatically formulated the correct outcome in advance (usually without any input from that person) when an issue goes wrong that affects them, because of stupid tabloid newspapers that cater to their way of thinking.

    I find it quite sad really, because the best outcome would be to find solutions for those who cannot help themselves, rather than those who won't because that's how they've got through life so far, by 'being right' in their own eyes.

    ReplyDelete