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.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

HMRC's Money Making Scam II

Now, as my loyal readers know, we are rapidly approaching the deadline (31 January) for the filing of online tax returns for tax year end 2011.

This year HMRC have added another money making string to their bow, in the shape of an automatic fine of £100 for any returns that are submitted late (even if there is no tax due).

In my very humble opinion fining people for submitting a late return, on which they have no tax liability, is a farking disgrace; and clearly is a blatant attempt by the bankrupt state to screw the taxpayer for as much money as possible.

As we know, the "state is unlawfully using late-payment penalty fines against tens of thousands of small firms who do not file their tax returns on time as a "cash-generating scheme" for the Exchequer."

Anyhoo, thus far, HMRC have stated that they are determined to collect these unjustified fines from anyone who misses the deadline (even if they owe no tax).

Given that there will doubtless be quite a few people (who owe no tax) who miss the deadline (human being are human beings, no matter what a government bureaucracy would like to turn us into), it will be very interesting to see what happens in February, March and beyond when the fines start dropping onto doormats.

Despite the fact that the political "elite" have no intention at the moment of removing their snouts from the trough, I suspect that this blatant money making scam will come back to bite HMRC and the government on their bureaucratic arses. There will be some very heavy political backpedalling, when the politicians realise that this is a step too far.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Yes I think February and March will not be easy for the Enquiry Centres and Contact Centres... I think this is going to kick off big style.

    1. Then watch the politicians try to distance themselves from this (as though they don't know anything about it!) and try to leave HMRC to twist in the wind.

      This site won't let the politicians off the hook though.

  2. I understand from those qualified HMRC staff who comment hereabouts that the unemployed are included! Now that will be one to watch... unemployed, on state benefits, fined by HMRC... who pays... the state? (DWP pays HMRC?) Or out of £60 a week the unemployed have to find a £100 fine, plus £10 a day/week (whatever).

    Indeed watch this space!

  3. Our criminal justice system and indeed, our state agencies, public service providers and institutions are brought into disrepute when they become lttle more than cynical revenue streams by a hard up, wasteful and greedy state.
    Most of these so called fines are little more than stealth taxes.

  4. Simply file a return on time then. Simple. 9 months is long enough to get the return completed surely? Libraries charge if books are returned late, dentists charge if you miss appointments-or cancel at short notice. Where's the outcry over that? Self assessment deadlines are well-publicised and reminders sent out. Genuine excuses should be looked at leniently, the rest will learn from their tardiness.

    1. Were human beings not human beings, then this is very logical advice. Unfortunately human beings are human beings.

      BTW, HMRC have stated the fines are automatic and there appears to be no avenue for a "genuine excuse".

      As and when the bills start dropping on the mats the gov will wash its hands of this, and leave HMRC to twist in the wind.

      Politicians are politicians!

    2. "BTW, HMRC have stated the fines are automatic and there appears to be no avenue for a "genuine excuse"."

      Ken, sometimes I find it difficult to beleive you are a tax accountant with some of the stuff you come out with. Otherwise you would know that:

      1. The fines have always been automatic. There isn't someone in an HMRC office pressing a buttion that says "Issue a penalty" a few hundred thousand times in the middle of February each year.

      2. There has been no talk of dropping the appeals process.

    3. HMRC's letter (see last post) says:

      "Last chance to avoid NEW penalties"

    4. Well, they will be new penalties if they haven't been applied before.

      the process will be the same,

  5. Abolish all fines,penalties etc,for everything, then. After all, human beings are human beings,no?

    I'm unemployed, and I drove through a speed camera too fast - now I've got a fixed penalty notice.............should be quashed, waaaaaah...

    1. Fining people who owe no tax, for submitting a form late is wrong.

      We do not work for the gov, the gov works for us!

    2. Ok, so if I write off a car, I won't bother to apply for a SORN, I can simply leave it outside your house illegally and when the council charges me for collecting it I'll just say "I don't have to pay it because I didn't want to have to bother with the car any more because I can't drive it".

  6. You think of the Criminality in banking in recent years and no one gave a hoot. London-Sachs, Lehman, etc. They destroyed millions of peoples lives through their wrecklessness.

    And now people who owe nothing and who accidentally submit a late form are going to get whacked.

    You push people too far, like the Poll Tax and it will come back to bite you hard on the bum.

  7. "This year HMRC have added another money making string to their bow, in the shape of an automatic fine of £100 for any returns that are submitted late (even if there is no tax due)."

    Er, no Ken. You'll find that all that HMRC is doing is bringing into effect part of the 2009 Finance Act. You know, legislation? The Law Of The Land?

    That's down to politicians.

    What other categories would you choose where people could self-righteously whinge on about being penalised for breaking the law?

    And as a previous poster said; it can't be that difficult to file a Return on time, can it? I mean, it's not as if the filing dates aren't shown in large, friendly letters on the front, is it?

    Sometimes you can use a feather; other times, you need to use a cattle prod.

  8. "can't be that difficult to file a Return on time, can it?"

    Proabably not. But what about a few fines for hmrc. If your earning a decent salary, how difficult is it to manage a post room and kind of you know, get post opened, not lose things like peoples Tax returns :) Or how about managing a call centre and try and provide a service to the tax payer and get like, well half the calls answered? Please, pretty please with sugar on top?
    Thing is Joe bloggs doesnt have a cattle prod does he now? He/she has to go and see the big bold magistrate to tell HMRC to well, administer Tax properly.

    1. Oh boy, are you in for some stick for posting that.

    2. Oh really? What for? Saying that HMRC should be fined every time they screw up millions of tax payers affairs.

      Whats your problem with it.

    3. Penalties for late returns. Oh how the people here would love to believe that the reasons for late/non filing of returns are simply because the 'taxpayer forgot'.

      How about we run through some scenarios? Seeing as HMRC management won't listen to their own staff perhaps they'll listen to a public forum instead. Surely no one could object to a self employed person neglecting to report their own income? And surely no one could object to income being taken in to account for false information being submitted.

      HMRC issues a return to someone who has declared themselves self employed. That person contacts HMRC (today) to say that they are no longer self employed as of 31/12/11. The last return (2011) sent shows an accounting period of 6/4/10 to 5/4/11.

      HMRC receives the return for 5/4/11 but lawfully expects a return for the taxable income from 06/04/11 to 31/1/11. d

      A return for the year ending 5/4/12 is issued for some reason. Could it be that taxable income for the year ending 5/4/12 hasn't been reported yet?

      Whilst also continuing to not file the return for the tax year they have been in business (5/4/12), They submit an appeal some time in September 2015 saying HMRC should have realised in 2012 that no further returns should be required and the reason they didn't file the return for the year ending 5/4/11 is because HMRC should 'surely realise this', usually this accompanies the first notification by the taxpayer they have ceased self employment (so if they gave this notification in May 2012, HMRC would quite lawfully expect a return of income for the year ending 5 April 2012 and 5 April 2013). This means not only there is no record of the business receipts between the date the customer

      “Saying that HMRC should be fined every time they screw up millions of tax payers affairs.”.

      When was the last time one of the 'millions' told HMRC they no longer had extra taxable income? Or does ' screwing up millions of tax payers affairs' constitute acting on the affairs of taxpayers as soon as possible after HMRC has been notified one of the millions of taxpayers have screwed up their own tax affairs by willingly neglecting to report taxable income (see above)?

      You also need to look at the cases that are presented to a tribunal. I've yet to find any ttibunals where HMRC expect a penalty payment from someone who is unemployed. I guess this could be because once an individual filed their return in the past the penalty was reduced by law to zero. In 2011 the safety net was reduced. Commenters on here have already decided HMRC staff will reject penalty appeals even before the penalties have been issued. Here's a conundrum. Accountants openly telling HMRC staff that they 'surely you should realise that X = Z because R told D that Q - 3' (when R had en told the facts about X or Z or R or D or even that Q had anthing to do with it) won't get you anywhere, since when has that worked for you?

      Customer service only has a value if the customer knows what went wrong in the first place Explaining what you have done to put things right might have a positive effect. Simply blaming HMRC for failing to pick up your own mistakes isn't a customer service matter for HMRC. It's an actual error on your part for which you are completely liable for.

  9. I have no problem with it at all, in fact I agree. But there are some others around here who will not have a word said against HMRC.

  10. OK let's say I 'm unemployed as of today (19/1/12).

    Should I file a return for the year ending 5 April 2011? Should I expect a penalty if I don't? If I shouldn't expect a penalty, why shouldn't I file a return for the year ending 5 April 2011 or 5 April 2012 for the period I was receiving other income?

    What basis would I not have any reason to file a return for the year ending 5 April 2011 or 5 April 2012 for the period I was receiving other income?

    Once you understand these questions and the answers to these questions you will understand that it's not a money making scheme?

    I *know* it's difficult when being told that you have UK taxable income to declare from the UK and that you should declare it under UK law. HMRC understands your frustration and is sorry if the income tax laws of the UK expect you to declare UK income that originates from in the same way that every other country in the entire world expects you to do so. Sorry about that.

  11. "Simply file a return on time then. Simple. 9 months is long enough to get the return completed surely?" Libraries charge if books are returned late, dentists charge if you miss appointments-or cancel at short notice. Where's the outcry over that? Self assessment deadlines are well-publicised and reminders sent out. Genuine excuses should be looked at leniently, the rest will learn from their tardiness.



    How can you expect ME. A person on JOBSEEKERS ALLOWANCE to report a weekly income of EXACTLY THE SAME AMOUNT EACH WEEK from the time I failed to notify HMRC I was no longer self employed to the end of the tax year.



    1. If you are unemployed and you get a fine for not completing a tax return - tough! You've got damn all else to do all day long than scrounge off the state. Use the time usefully and COMPLETE YOUR RETURN

    2. that would be all very well except individuals and small companies cannot afford fat accountant's fees and the forms are completely incomprehensible to even those with financial nouse so how you expect anyone else to complete them easily is beyond me.

    3. Well, 99% of the returns get in on time fine and not all of those have representatives completing their return.

      No wonder the unemployed people are moaning so much here if they can't understand things like 'put your jobseekers allowance here' or 'put how much you got paid from your P45 here' or 'put the bits from your CIS statements here here and here'.

      Yet even though most of the questions asked or boxes to fill in are the same kinds of questions asked/boxes to complete when you go to make a claim for jobseekers allowance or tax credits, those forms seem to be completed ok without problems.

      Or is this known as selective ignorance? i.e. there is more incentive for someone to complete those forms on time?

      Believe whatever you want to believe. The IRS asks everyone who resides in the United States and citizens who have moved abroad to file a return, calculate their own tax and pay it by April 15th even if they do not have income that originates in the US, quoted from their website "If you owe tax and don't file on time, the total late-filing penalty is usually five percent of the tax owed for each month, or part of a month that your return is late, up to five months. If your return is over 60 days late, the minimum penalty for late filing is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the tax owed."

      In the US the return filing window is from 1 January immediately after the end of the tax year to 15 April of that same year, 4 months and 15 days. The default charge kicks in in June in that case, just after 6 months. The IRS even asks people to calculate their own penalties!

      The charge in the UK is between 7 and 10 months depending of how you file.

      So stop your moaning.

    4. I'm not sure Jan 20, 2012 01:21 AM understood that the post they were replying to was not genuine but a satire of the ways people choose to communicate with HMRC nowadays.

    5. I fully understood what the poster of 3.53 was implying thank you.

      I was commenting - I thought that's what one did on this site.

      Silly me


  13. I'm really sorry that HMRC exists in the UK.
    I'm really sorry that PAYE doesn't collect every single last penny of income tax that people don't tell HMRC about.
    I'm really sorry that HMRC assesses tax
    I'm really sorry that HMRC collects tax.

    I'm really sorry that HMRC is not the department that acts as your own personal accountant 24/7 over 365 days a year. 60 milion people live in the UK.

    You are just one of them. Even if your tax affairs were taken care of by an accountant on 5x as much as me why should I treat you any different?

  14. Ken,

    "the bankrupt state"

    I find it odd, given your distrust of the government, - and indeed of politicians in general, - that you seem to have swallowed this particular piece of propaganda. Surely you realise it's spin - in the face of a deficit that is historically by no means exceptional and strong demand for government debt, among other things - intended to excuse ideologically-driven and severely regressive austerity measures?

    Stew G

  15. Ken, the real scam is the phone numbers that you have to ring for advice. A nice little earner for them.

    HMRC is a profound shambles, I agree, and it is a total iniquity that they harass people for relatively trivial sums of money (cost of which business case is not sustainable) whilst others courtesry of Hartnett get away with millions. Bankrupt morally and financially.

    1. "Ken, the real scam is the phone numbers that you have to ring for advice. A nice little earner for them."

      Oh it's you again is it?

      Crawl back to your little hole, you've already been debunked.

      I hear that some village that is missing its idiot is also missing the idiots companion, he goes by the name of ignoramus metaphysicae lerrus gerrus puddindanus.

  16. Yes, this £100 is unfair, as I know from my current experience. I live abroad and before I left the UK I did two days work for my former employer, which I thought wasn't PAYE. I therefore was proactive and registered myself as self-employed. I then discovered I was taxed on the two days of work via PAYE and thought nothing more of it when I left the UK.

    I now discover that I have to fill out a self-assesment return or face a £100 fine, despite:

    1) Not living in the UK during the tax year.
    2) Never, even doing one day's work as self-employed in the UK in my entire life.

    I only discovered this when I returned back to the UK at the start of this year. I've requested the PIN code to complete the form online be sent to my sister, who is now on holiday. I've now had to give a friend's address and I pray the PIN code gets there in the next week, other wise I face a £100 fine, when, I repeat:

    1) Not living in the UK during the tax year.
    2) Never, even doing one day's work as self-employed in the UK in my entire life.

    How can this be fair?

    1. I do not work for HMRC but can safley say it is fair because you told HMRC you where self employed and by doing that you put yourself into a position where you need to do a tax return.

      The other facts are irrelavant unless you spoke to HMRC and they agreed otherwise which I doubt they would.

    2. 2) Never, even doing one day's work as self-employed in the UK in my entire life

      I agree with the poster @5:07 AM. It's rather like if I went abroad for a year, left the boiler on and came back to find I had a rather large electricity bill.

      I don't think the electricity company would be impressed if I said "I'm not paying this, you should have contacted me abroad whilst I was abroad (even though I never told you I was going abroad) to advise me I'd left the boiler on, or you should have switched my electric supply off."

    3. Sorry, I think that analogy is ridiculous. I've not got a 'large bill' from anyone. I don't owe anyone money. All I have is a potential fine for not filling a form in on time.

      I think a better analogy would be that I expressed an interest in using an electricity company. I never pursued this any further an then left the country (HMRC never contacted me since the initial email, until I got a letter in December of this year). I then discover the electricity company have registered me, despite me not using any service, and will fine me £100 if I don't fill out a form, that I require a PIN code for, which takes seven days to arrive at an address in a country I don't live in (I still live abroad, I've not returned).

      My mistake here was to be proactive in contacting HMRC about the likelihood of being self-employed. Put in the same situation again, I wouldn't be proactive and I wouldn't have contacted them. Seems honesty is not always the best policy.

    4. I'll have to try that one with my electricity company.

      Hi, you know when I phoned you up 18 months ago, gave you all my details and told you what tarriff I wanted to be on, now you're sending me an estimated bill. I was only expressing an interest.

      Is there anyone who works at the NI Contributions megacampus who can confirm that there is now an e-mail gateway set up for people to say they are registering as self employed? I wish they'd publicise these things.

  17. How do you tell HMRC you are unemployed?

    Would that be in one of those 'letter thingies' that don't get opened, get lost or can't be found?

    1. Umm, assuming you were previously self employed....

      To be able to make a claim for jobseekers allowance you would have needed to tell HMRC that your were no longer self employed. Otherwise the DWP database would show that you were still paying/liable to pay class 2 NIC's (or claiming a small earnings exception) and your claim would be denied.

      So, for the part year you were still self employed. You had some taxable income.

      So, you would need to complete a return. The information on that return would normally determine whether a return for the next year was required (don't forget there are several reasons why returns are issued), but if it's not completed then it's a bit difficult isn't it.

    2. PS I am only making the assumption because as usual, not enough information has been supplied to be able to answer your query in full.

      Don't worry too much though, working for HMRC you get used to people providing next to no information and expecting an answer that matches the query, it's almost an hourly occurrence.

  18. Oh or perhaps I'm unemployed because I have a terminal illness...

    ... perhaps I have to spend so much time every day trying to stay alive, I wasn't aware I had to rectify HMRC's cock-ups.

    1. Most people who have a serious illness or looking after someone who has a serious illness will send a letter with the return advising this is the reason why the return was late.

      HMRC then cancels the penalty, simple as, no proof required (when was the last time you saw a tax tribunal case on this issue?)

      If ATOS (a private 'consultancy' who DWP have been forced by MP's that have a vested interest, in to being a 'customer' of) had anything to do with it, they would demand that the person provided a full report of the persons medical history and ensure the person attended a medical assessment. Preferably at a location that is inconvenient to the person challenging the penalty to prove they were suffering from a chronic illness and this is income that people need to keep their quality of life from deteriorating.

      Google 'atos dwp cancer'.

    2. it was about 'unemployment'... there are several reasons why people are unemployed, not just the work shy! But your right wong HMRC numpties have a blinkered moronaivc approach to everything.

      Sweet FA to do with 'penalties' either... if it isn't in 'the HMRC Bible' you lot don't know what the F you are talking about do you.

      Nothing to do with late returns...


    3. I apologise, I thought the comment you made on a thread about late returns had something to do with late returns, not unemployment.

      I agree, I must be right wong to have such a moronaivc approach.

      The next time someone writes a letter to me stating facts, I'll just assume the opposite. Because clearly that's what you expect of an HMRC numpty.

  19. WHO IS this mystery Dail Mail reader... what circulation do they have...

    ... that's representative of the subjects of this country then! And a coherent and well argued case – numptie!

    (allegedly DM sales in 2011> 2,050,132... out of 61million adults)

    STREWTH you'll be reading the Times and quoting Sky News next

    1. 61 million adults aren't complaining to HMRC either, either here on this site, similar sites or even directly to the department.

      So using that same reasoning you could also argue most people are happy with the service HMRC provides to them.

    2. 61 million adults?

      Errmm, not quite:)

    3. Yes Ken, 61 million adults.

      If 300% of the unicorns nephews who post here put nonsense like that in, then there’s no sense in altering it when making an equally ridiculously erroneous comment.

  20. Can't believe some of the comments from HMRC staff on here.

    I have no issues with penalties being issued to people who fail to submit returns when they owe tax. I have a huge problem with fning people for failing to carry out some pontless bureacratic procedure when no tax is due

    I worked for the former Inland Revenue for over 15 years and during my time carrying out investigations the principle was quite simple. If there was no tax liabilty then there should be no penalty - end of story. The legislative changes enacted in the 2009 Finance Act in 2009 are a breach of natural justice and the concept of equitable liability which has always had a place in British law. The fact that current HMRC employees can not grasp that idea shows how degraded this country and their department has become and why the British state is teeteriong on the edge of dissolution.

    1. Perhaps the former Inland Revenue has become jaded by so many private sector practices being brought in?

      With regards to equitable liability. Even that been replaced by another term.

  21. I found out i have been fined 100 pounds because i didn't fill in a tax return last year. I have been living and working abroad for 2 years and plan to do so for the foreseeable future. I even filled in a P85 to say i was no longer resident in the UK. Im not sure what to do now, i guess the fine will just keep ramping up if i don’t pay it or fill in a tax return which i m sure i shouldn’t have to do given I’m abroad.