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, 5 September 2012

HMRC Launches "Where's My Reply?"

Stung by criticism that its communications with taxpayers and their agents is shambolic and slow, HMRC have launched (with much fanfare) a tracking service called "Where's My Reply?".

In theory the service will enable taxpayers to:
"Find out when you can expect to get a reply from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to a query or request you've made."
Can the eagle eyed amongst you spot the "catch" in the above?

Yes, that's right, the "tracking" system will not tell you when you WILL receive a reply but only when you can EXPECT to receive a reply; ie it is not a real time tracking system (in fact it isn't a tracking system at all).

Test the "tracker" via this link, and you will be given the following caveat:
"Please note: the date given is for the majority of enquiries and only a guide. It is not a measure of HMRC's performance."
There is also another "catch", the "tracker" is not available for all types of taxpayers. Only the following may use it:
"If you're an employee or you pay tax on a company pension through PAYE (Pay As You Earn - the system used by employers and pension providers to deduct tax from your wages or pension), you can use the tracker to check how long it will take HMRC to:
  • pay your Income Tax refund
  • reply to your general Income Tax enquiry
  • provide a copy of individual information, such as your tax code or pay and tax details
  • send you HMRC forms or stationery
If you're an agent, you can also check how long it will take HMRC to:
  • register you as an agent to use HMRC Online Services
  • process an application for authority to act on behalf of a client
  • amend your agent details"
Tough luck if you are not on the above list!

To reiterate, this is NOT a tracking service at all.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Ticket number 1,610,969 make your way to the counter please, pick up the courtesy phone and select which option you require, when Barry Manilow is playing for the second time you have reached the standby queue, all calls maybe recorded although we erase those we don't like.
    If the fault turns out to be our responsibility or error we will not charge you a penalty but you will still have to pay the tax and a fine, oops, penalty, oops 10% for the pleasure of our error.
    I bet there has been smoke billowing from the whiteboards over this, will it improve performance, doubt it, will it improve customer, damn, taxpayer, confidence and trust in the system, no.

  2. Thing is, we used to have the same thing internally, where we were told how long an item of post would take to be dealt with by, say, the offices which deal with Self Assessment returns, or the offices which deal with expenses claims.

    And it was never, *never* accurate. After a while, they stopped updating it, and then they seem to have dropped it. No-one within the place believed a word of it anymore.

    This will go the same way.

  3. It seems to be the silly season (or sillier)in HMRC this always happens every couple of years when the senior managers G7 up get shuffled about. They then go to their new departments and start these stupid initiatives to 'make their mark'. Trouble is they are on the whole a bunch of tossers with no idea about life on the coalface. Pacesetter shite again.

  4. The problem being that whatever happens, the results of these stupid initiatives are spun out to make them sound successful and the initiator of the stupid initiative moves ever onwards and upwards!!!

  5. If you want to be surrounded by gherkins go work in a pickle factory is the saying.
    Within this totally unfit for purpose organisation lay a number of strata occupied by some of the most ineffective "managers" in the civil service. Most are so afraid of their own shadows and work tirelessly to ensure their rear ends are covered, others put the psych into psychophant so far that they fail to see the sunshine. Then there are the power mad, they don't bully, they torture the weak and the submissive and thrive.
    If anyone ever manages to join the dots between inefficient management and the wholesale waste of public money this has caused it will make most of the scandals so far discovered pale into lesser significance.
    Remember HMRC, staff are taxpayers too just don't try referring to them as customers.
    Whats next on the whiteboard then colleagues, engagement?

  6. A £25 shopping voucher instead of a pay rise - oh they have done that one!

    1. Subsidised childcare facilities on site - nope, they (Mapeley) are closing them down.
      Decent canteen facilities where you have 500 or more staff on site - nope, they are closing those down.
      Free parking on site - have to tax you on that soon.
      Security on site, well at least CCTV then, no-one to view it live.
      Whiteboards for the staff to put their ideas on, yes, but then we have to cover the support legs with hazard marking tape to stop the staff falling over them because we put them in stupid places.
      Expensive (over a grand) four sided magnetic boards mounted on rollers (roll them around locations) so that we can put stupid graphs on them telling you how well we are doing - FFS its 2012 whatever happened to IT, oh the staff won't read it, really, do you think they read the graphs on the rollie boards then?!