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, 24 January 2012

HMRC Lifts Embargo On Talking To BBC About Troops In Afghanistan

I am very pleased to see the very active level of comments from some of my loyal readers about my recent highlighting of a BBC News item about troops serving in Afghanistan being fined by HMRC if they submit their tax returns late.

Indeed one of you was so keen to put his/her viewpoint across, that he/she posted 14 times in the last 24 hours!

Anyhoo, you will doubtless be pleased to learn that HMRC have lifted their self imposed embargo on talking to the BBC about the issue.

AccountingWeb reports the following:

"British armed forces personnel in active service who have failed to file their tax return in time will have their penalties cancelled as a ‘Reasonable Excuse’ if they get in touch HMRC.

As discussed on BBC Money Box, soldiers serving in Afghanistan will still face penalties if they fail to file by the 31 January deadline, but there will the chance to appeal. 
Paul Lewis said: 

“HMRC refused to talk about this all week, but on Saturday morning at 11.30, [half an hour before Moneybox was broadcast], they told us if armed forces let us know, we will immediately cancel penalties. 

They will accept serving in Afghanistan as a Reasonable Excuse.

An HMRC spokesperson also told AccountingWEB: 

“For a service person who is serving with the military in Afghanistan, we appreciate that they have higher priorities than filling out their tax return. They’re in a fairly unique position, a combat position, and obviously that has to come first for them, and we completely understand and support that.

“So if they couldn’t complete the return by 31 January the penalty notice would be automatically generated by the system. However, if the service person contacts us as soon as they can to point out that they didn’t complete it because they were on a tour of duty in Afghanistan, we would cancel that penalty notice.

HMRC confirmed that while there is a 30-day deadline to appeal, they will “apply common sense”, and this will be waived for those serving in Afghanistan.

“You’re supposed to appeal within 30 days, but again we know that being on active service in Afghanistan is a pretty unique position, so we would be very flexible about that and as soon as they got in touch we would make sure they didn’t have anything to pay.

The advice is, don’t wait for penalty - send a letter in to accompany your late return."

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Just spent all morning attemting to get through online via the Government's web portal... keep getting error messages....

    anybody know if the online service has crashed under the weight of enquiries/useage etc...

    or is it all my fault as usual?

    If you can't get online how is HMRC going to deal with that one?

    1. is owned by a software company that has nothing to do with hmrc or the government gateway or anything to to with any service provided to the public through the government gateway.

      I'm thinking if you keep poking your finger in your ear you might reach your cerebral cortex. There's a small possibility.

  2. Internet is fine in our enquiry centre only time it went down was last Friday morning across all offices across the country.

    1. I appreciate you trying to help but

      'the internet in your office' is not the issue, the issue is the Government portal to register and access HMRC services is the one that appears with error messages is a bit different to 'the internet in your office'.

      The internt in this office is fine... but the Government Gateway is the one that appears to be pear-shaped and if this is the portal for self assessment, I just wondered if that will create further problems for HMRC?

      i.e half the world and his mother will be complinaing they cannot access their online self assessment accounts! Especially with only 7 days to go! Watch this space...

    2. Perhaps I should have added... I was thinking of our troops overseas and if they were attempting to use the Self Assessment (?) or any other service via the Government Gateway and 'the system' was overloaded, especially related to HMRC and were unable to do so just how HMRC were going to respond... or perhaps I'm too many steps ahead?

    3. And what do you think we use to register and file online for customers????? there have been no issues on the Government Gateway today and people have been registering and filing fine.

    4. Your words "Internet is fine in our enquiry centre"

      says sweet FA about Government Gateway

      sorry, I forget we are supposed to know which office you are in, work for HMRC and your operating procedures... supposed to be psychic



      (and you wonder why we lose our patience trying to deal with HMRC)

    5. Your the idiot who has left it until the end of January to do your tax return do it in April this year and stop moaning by leaving it to the last minute and expecting to be able to get help it's your own fault don't blame other people.

    6. Anonymous Jan 24, 2012 09:44 AM

      that's it, lose the argument and get obnoxious

      you have NO IDEA about anything least of all my circumstances so disappear back up your rectum.

      AND my circumstances are irrelevant, it is what HMRC are supposed to be doing or not as the case may be...

      .. if HMRC is insisting on online submissions and you can't get online and can't get through by telephone... ??????? or is that TOOOO difficult for you to undertstand?

    7. Then do a paper return you had between April and October 31 to do one and you could also have done it online in the last nine months typical expect people to help you with one week left and you expect the helpline to be quiet and be able to answer your call straight away knowing the cutbacks that have happened. Don't leave it until January next year. The portal is working we have submitted 10 returns for customers today with no issues. You need to sort your self assessment out and file earlier.

    8. how do you know I haven't already done my self assessment tax return?

      Perhaps and as stated, the difficulty is accessing the Government Gateway website.
      (one can have completed one's assessment but still access one's account – in theory, but I understand that is a step toooo far for you kin idiots)


      Then again I suppose you will be able to explain HMRS interpretation of Anglo-Persian Oil Company Ltd v Dale [1931] 16TC253.

    9. I've been reading this post and I don't know anything about HMRS interpretation of Anglo-Persian Oil Company Ltd v Dale [1931] 16TC253, but I know 2 things 1)if you're so clever why leave your tax return until the last minute? 2) You're a fucking twat.

    10. that's it use the brains you were born with – or is being a complete idiot something you at HMRC have all learned?

      what makes you think I even have a self assessment to complete –

      AnonymousJan 24, 2012 11:14 AM
      how do you know I haven't already done my self assessment tax return?

      ITS ABOUT ACCESSING GOVERNMENT GATEWAY, clearly you can't read either

    11. Get a life you sad old loser

    12. Have you tried using a different browser such a IE or firefox sometimes helps. You don't say what you were trying to do but you can register and log in via the HMRC site that is ok i checked it before i wrote this.Hope that helps.

    13. AnonymousJan 24, 2012 11:31 AM
      "2) You're a fucking twat."

      you –

      Aged 22-32
      Left school at 16
      3 GCSE's Grade E
      Reads the Daily Star
      Lives with his parents
      Drives a 1.1 Corsa with a boom box and faux exhaust.
      Goes on holiday to Costa Brava (but not anymore because he has no friends)
      Aged 19 had a girlfriend for two weeks
      Plays on his 'X' box his bedroom
      Paints Warhammer figures – at weekends goes to war in town!
      Makes his own sandwiches
      Eats alone at work because no-one will talk to him
      Sits in has car and reads Men's Health and Maxim.
      Hopes one day to – no, he has no ambition

      how we doing so far?

      since his last report he was assessed as –
      reaching rock-bottom and starting to dig
      this employee is really not so much a has-been but more of a definite won't be
      works well under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap
      when he opens his mouth, it seems it is only to change feet
      he would be out of his depth in a car park puddle
      has delusions of adequacy
      he sets low personal standards and consistently fails to achieve them
      he is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot
      he should go far, and the sooner he starts the better
      has a six pack, but not the plastic thing to hold them together
      a gross ignaramus – 144 times worse than an ordinary ignaramus
      I would like to go hunting with him sometime
      he's been working with glue too much
      he brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room
      when his IQ reaches 50, he should sell
      if you see two people and one looks bored – he's the other one
      if he was any more stupid he'd have to be watered twice a week
      if you can stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean
      takes him 2 hours to watch 60 minutes
      he spent the night in casulty a sit turns out the new Dyson ball cleaner isn't what he thought it was.
      and finally
      he got a letter back from Screwfix but they regretted to inform him they are not a dating agency,
      exactly, total nonsense, (but with a sense of humour) rather than your
      misguided, preconceived, stereotypical, misconceived ideas about 'customers'

    14. and doesn't even like his sandwiches

  3. As I feared... I tried the HMRC help pages and got nowhere so emailed them... SHOCKED And STUNNED, I got a reply... this is it...

    "In January our helpdesks face high demands due to the extremely large numbers of Self Assessment enquiries and we cannot guarantee to provide a response to e-mail enquiries before 31st January. If you need information or assistance to help you complete your Self Assessment return on time we recommend that you use the information on our website or call the helpdesk."

    SO if you can't get through online and can't get through by telephone you are buttfcuked...

    ... so much for online services!

    (And of course irrespective of what difficulties, however caused and a deadline of 31 Janauary... the reality is the dealine is in reality probably 30 April.

  4. I can see where this is going...

    this is the Government Gateway error message –
    "the information you entered below does not match the information held by the government department that handles this service"... which happens to be HMRC.

    ... which will eventually no doubt lead to HMRC saying you are not 'self assessment'... which is what I have been trying to tell HMRC for ages, I know it, you know it, but you send the 'penalties letters out' a week ago... so I go online... only I can't do as I'm told!

    I feel and fear this one will end up with HMRC having notified thousands/millions of self assessment and penalties, when it does not relate to them! Only time will tell.

    HOWEVER, I still can't acces Government Gateway portal! (over 20 attempts so far today!).

    1. "the information you entered below does not match the information held by the government department that handles this service (HMRC)"

      the information being used is that supplied by HMRC!

    2. This usually means you need to update your address/name etc if you are trying to register or if you are logging in your PC is remembering a password via auto complete. Un-check the auto complete on your browser and re-try.

  5. If the troops are trying to get through,

    will the troops have any time left to 'do their duty'?

    let us know.

  6. Here we go...

    Government Gateway... another error message...

    "Unsupported browser for certificate type

    Sorry, you cannot register with, or log in to the Gateway using this certificate provider and web browser combination. These certificates are not currently supported on the Macintosh operating system and Netscape 6.x version browsers on all platforms."

    In other words Government online is a complete Farking JOKE

    So what does Government want me to do buy a new computer and operating system to suit them... ANYTHING to do with the puyblic sector is complete waste of time and a farce.

    Well you know what you can do with M'soft and it's where the sun don't shine.

    Richest company in the world and we can't recognise it... UNBELIEVABLE

    1. What? Mac are not rich? Use firefox it is free and I have filed using it, so no they do not expect you to buy a new PC/operating system. It may help you to read the website it does list the supported browsers.

  7. "ANYTHING to do with the public sector is complete waste of time and a farce." Yeah, right on! The computer system designed by a private company who rip off the country by passing off this piece of shit as 'fit for purpose". Yeah, Mapely so much better at running the estate than in house estate management etc etc etc. Honestly what a prick you are your ilk are.

    1. I think you will find the computer system was designed by HMRC, developed by a private company and signed off by HMRC.

    2. As far as I am aware HMRC haven't designed and implemented any meaningful software since COP/CODA! They certainly didn't 'design' SA, Tax Cedits, Govenment Gateway etc. I should know, I used to be a member of the HMRC SCS based in Telford

  8. Don't see the point in continuing contributions to this site. We get enough big brother monitoring from our own employer.

  9. Back to the point.. I think most people knew this was bollocks already reading the comments the other day, as they always get cancelled. Bit past it's sell by this one like most crappy tory/BBC/DM propaganda. Thought better of you though Ken, this site is usually spot on (All of the PAC Goldman sucks blogs etc were the best on the subject) come on get a grip!

  10. I'm glad we got there in the end...

    AnonymousJan 24, 2012 03:28 PM
    "It may help you to read the website it does list the supported browsers."

    what it actually says is –

    "the Government Gateway has a requirement for browsers to connect securely which means that some older browsers may no longer be able to connect. If you experience any problems entering the Government Gateway site, it is possible the version of your browser is not up to date. If this is the case, please upgrade your browser and retry."


    Microsoft Windows (Windows 98 or later)
    Microsoft Internet Explorer v5.5 or later
    Firefox v1.5 or later
    Opera v9 or later
    Firefox v2.0 or later
    Mac OS X v10.5 or later
    Safari v3.0 or later
    Your browser must have JavaScript and cookies enabled, and be capable of supporting 128 bit SSL.

    Note for Macintosh users: Although you can access the Government Gateway website with these browsers, Chamber SimplySign, Chambersign, Equifax and BT Trust Services digital certificates are not supported on the Macintosh. Macintosh users can currently only register for government services that require a User ID and password, not services that require a digital certificate (such as the HMCE New Export System or DEFRA IACS Area Aid Application).

    SO THAT immediately excludes 80% of the population from filing online

    AND THAT IS THE POINT – NOT EVERYONE WILL BE ABLE TO FILE ONLINE! (because they simply don't have the compatible computer equipment/software).

    Glad we got there in the end.

    (Oh and it only says this on the Government GAteway, NOT the HMRC site – that I could find anyway).

    1. and that includes UK troops overseas

  11. stupid thing is older operating systems and older broswers are more secure than recent ones... especially anythning that is M'Soft based.

    1. should read
      'anything NOT M'Soft based

      Whoops, too busy to take due diligence.


  12. while Govt Gateways says

    'Firefox v1.5 or later'

    the latest version Firefox 3.6.25 DOES NOT WORK!

  13. And if you try and be helpful and advise someone, the response is

    "In January our helpdesks face high demands due to the extremely large numbers of Self Assessment enquiries and we cannot guarantee to provide a response to e-mail enquiries before 31st January. If you need information or assistance to help you complete your Self Assessment return on time we recommend that you use the information on our website or call the helpdesk."

    round and round in never ending circles

    (and if you think I'm sitting on the telephone for 50 minutes to inform someone... foxtrot oscar.)

  14. Someone spoke to the 'helpdesk'... and GOT THROUGH! Comment was, "there appears to be a problem with Government Gateway web site going by the number of calls we are receiving on the same subject..."


    online services that don't work, really helpful and useful, that then.

  15. I've found out the REAL ISSUE...

    letters from Government Activation services provide instructions in the letter,
    I wont bore you with them but that includes Gateway creating a unique user ID number for one
    (which appears in the likes of a credit card, for anyone who doubts me)

    Log In with User ID and password etc

    Logs in, no problem...

    so onwards and upwards, until you try and access the services... error emssage
    try again
    error message
    try again
    error message
    ad infinitum

    it turns out one DOES NOT USE the User ID created by Gateway BUT the original USER ID created when one ENROLLED!

    Well that's really helpful, how the flying fcuk are we supposed to know the difference between and what is USER ID?

    Enrolment User ID and Gateway User ID.

    If you Gateway creates a user id, one tends to use it.


    But of course you can't advise anyone THAT is the problem... all far too clever and know better!

    You couldn't make it up!

    1. Funny how most people have managed it but not you.

    2. quantify 'most' ?

      how many people have not?

      and yes you are absolutley correct, I am also deaf and blind.
      (and I don't have a telephone)

      AND registered with the lunatic asylum (that part at least is true, well so is the deaf bit... and my eyesight isn't all that great... did I mention the Diabetes?



    (perhaps HMRC/Government GAteway might include a similar error message or pop up on their web sites?)

  17. My reasonable excuse is that I created an ad-hominem argument whilst still failing to submit the return at any point.

  18. why is it you HMRC morons associate January with everyone submitting returns...

    there are lots of other things going on in the world outside HMRC.

    We know you all have blinkered, one vision, but get a life and move on... Gateway and HMRC online can be used for all sorts of other reasons other than a 31st Januarytax return deadline... like VAT for instance.

    You simply confirm everything that is worng with HMRC – the staff working there... and then moan at us 'customers'. Pathetic.

    1. Oh I'm sorry HMRC staff choose to associate the online self assessment
      deadline with the er.... online self assessment deadline, maybe several
      commenters moaning that they are unable to register on the government
      gateway, using their Nintendo Wii, around about the deadline for self
      assessment tax returns gave it away?

      HMRC staff would be berated on this site if they veered off topic to vat registeration. The replies would be 'surely you hmrc morons should know we were talking about the self assessment deadline'.

      Perhaps it could also be that those who complete VAT returns are a little more
      responsible with their affairs. After all being VAT registered is seen as a
      sign of professionalism in most peoples eyes and don't seem to have all these "I'm hard done by" issues.

    2. Where have all these GLEN BECK contributions come from.

      SOMETIMES it seems like EVERYONE should USE their COMMON SENSE.


      HMRC expexted their CUSTOMERS to use COMMON SENSE.


      I keep using CAPITALS to show that those MORONS at HMRC designed a SYSTEM that 99% of ORDINARY PEOPLE have no problem being able to access, but I AM A VERY SPECIAL CASE. 104% of the One HUNDRED MILLION THOUSAND SQUILLION 'CUSTOMERS' out of the 3 MILLION who have yet to file their return because HMRC MORONS who DESIGNED THE SYSTEM with a BLINKERED VISION stopped me from accessing the system with NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR 0.99x Beta that I DELIBERATELY USED to demonstrate incompatibility and that HMRC are USELESS.

    3. You are indeed a 'special case'. Special needs MORON!