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, 14 March 2012

Death and Taxes - HMRC To Improve Service To Bereaved

The Guardian recently published an article about a mix up emanating from HMRC, which caused HMRC to fine the deceased mother of one of its journalists for the deceased failing to send in her self assessment on time.

Seemingly HMRC knew full well that she had died because it did not send its penalty demand to her house, but to her son at his home address.

 "As power of attorney for Mrs B Levene, Deceased".

Power of attorney ceases on the death of the person who grants the power, the bank accounts are frozen to protect the beneficiaries of her estate and the executors of the estate take over. They cannot act, however, until probate is completed.

HMRC, when contacted by the journalist, said:
"We are extremely sorry for the errors in this case and the distress these have caused. 

These should not have happened and resulted from human error. 

There is no question of a penalty being payable and we are writing with a full explanation and apology."

HMRC added that it was in the process of reviewing how to improve its service to the bereaved.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. I do not see what the error is, surely tax would be due up until the moment of death so a tax return still needs to be submitted.

    1. As explained above, fining a dead person for submitting a late tax return is an "error" (probate etc takes time).

      HMRC have stated this should not have happened.

    2. Fair point, but I bet they still expect to get a tax return from the deceased person.

  2. This was probably caused by a group of people on a "work list" team following a set of "guidance" from a Standard Process Descriptor or SPDs as they are laughably known. Poor blighters have to process X number of work list items per hour and fill in an Excel based "Tally Sheet"

  3. Would such a profuse apology have been less forthcoming if the deceased was not a relative of a journalist for a top newspaper...i doubt it.

    1. I am still trying to equate the "human error" bit to HMRC.

    2. Actually, Yes! HMRC are really quite good at saying sorry... what they're not good at is acting on the reason why it had to say it!

  4. I had a few widows on the phone tearfully protesting about letters to their late husbands. The widowers protesting about letters to their late wives were generally pissed. Who cares?

    1. & that is exactly how senior management think!

  5. @ 07.25 that's the awful thing. The customer contact staff have to deal with dissatisfied "customers" whilst the problems keep piling up in the back office! Ain't Pacesetter great!