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, 10 January 2012

Mediation The HMRC Way

HMRC is offering some SME's the opportunity of mediation in disputes about tax.

The Guardian reports that HMRC is running a pilot scheme in Wales, to see if tax disputes can be settled in a "gentlemanly" fashion before going to court.

All very well and decent of HMRC, until that is you look at the substance of the "mediation".

The adjudicator who acts as "watchdog" is staffed entirely by HMRC inspectors and administrators, and the "facilitators" of the mediation process are in fact HMRC staff.

Mediation only works effectively where both parties in the dispute are confident that the mediator is truly independent. In this particular case there is a complete lack of independence.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. I guess the courts will continue to be the best otion for some.

  2. Just try and stick with the courts. Somethings up if they are trying to be sneaky. They must be losing too many tax tribunals. Let them burn.

  3. Its just like working for them.
    Theres no impartiallity or independence everything is rigged against you before you start..why bother

  4. "Just try and stick with the courts. Somethings up if they are trying to be sneaky. They must be losing too many tax tribunals."

    I think you may be on to something there.

  5. At last. We now know what jack will be doing after retirement.

  6. In some cases it is a genuine attempt to stop silly cases, in others the review is just another opportunity to intimidate the taxpayer into withdrawing.

  7. I would hazard a guess that by the time a case got to this stage the tax payer would have had enough of dealing with HMRC staff.

  8. I cannot see how mediation by another HMRC staff member could be seen as impartial. Granted, not everyone who works in HMRC has knowledge of tax, as with any large company there's the bloke who comes and fixes the leaky tap and there are others who look after the payroll/general staff welfare of the people who work for HMRC but I can't imagine them being trained mediators.

    (yes, like any other large company HMRC have a division that deals with its own staff including welfare and payroll - there's also a tax office that deals with the tax affairs of HMRC staff, except, for reasons of confidentiality, the HMRC staff in the tax office that deals with the rest of the HMRC staff don't have access to the records of the HMRC staff who work in the tax office that deal with HMRC staff, only the officer in charge of the HMRC staff that deal with HMRC staff that deal with the rest of the HMRC staff has access to those records and his own secretary has access to his record but he doesn't have access to his own record.

  9. I never thought I'd find myself saying this, but the Torygraph gives a more balanced report than the Gruaniad. The point about the removal of district inspectors is an interesting one.

    At the end of the day the process isn't binding, so while HMRC might just drop its case as a result of it, the formal appeal route remains open to the taxpayer throughout. Clearly one would need to weigh up any additional professional fees that might be incurred (though these are likely to be dwarfed by the fees associated with a tribunal hearing) but, in a lot of cases, it may well be worth a shot.

    Stew G.