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.

Friday, 14 September 2012

HMRC Resort To Telling Porkies

Oh dear, it seems that some of HMRC's staff are so keen to raise tax revenue that they are resorting to telling porkies to taxpayers.

That at least is the conclusion to be drawn from this article on Tax Hell:
"I was approached by a reader who who was in a real fix with HMRC. I won’t give the details because it’s an ongoing case, but I can tell you that HMRC said they were going to take the investigation back over 19 years. 

Na-na-na-na-na 19! 

Well they just can’t do that and they were duly told so. 

Honestly those investigators at HMRC, they are so cheeky!"
It is not very "nice" of HMRC to tell porkies like that.

Evidently things must be becoming somewhat desperate in the HMRC bunker!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. From the HMRC website itself

    In cases of fraud they CAN go back 20 years, so the truth WAS told - please get the headline right Ken

  2. But this isn't a fraud case, just a case of an 'overzealous' HMRC bod!

    Cheers Nick

  3. Actually, they can go back 20 years for "deliberate behaviour or certain failures", so so far it's impossible for us loyal readers to know whether the case fell within that, just as we don't really know what "HMRC said they were going to" really means. It could have been anything from the officer saying that this could be a case to which the 20 year rule is applicable, to the actual issuing of assessments. We also don't know what happened after "they were duly told" that the rule couldn't apply. Did they accept it? Did it go to tribunal? Is HMRC still pursuing the 19 years?

    To tell the truth, what interests me more is that, even if we assume that the officer in question did adamantly say that adjustments would go back 19 years and was proved to be wrong, a certain very diligent (far be it for me to say overzealous!) blogger, who purports to dedicate his work to HMRC staff, has chosen to accuse the officer of lying. Deliberately.

    No consideration is given in the article to the possibility that this was a mistake. The officer may have been inexperienced - possibly even a trainee - or may have misunderstood - or not had access to all the facts about - the circumstances, leading him/her to believe that the error in question was caused by deliberate behaviour when it wasn't. In fact this may have been, rather than a lie or mistake by the officer, a legitimate disagreement between HMRC and the individual over whether the behaviour was deliberate. No need to worry about any of that, though: all we're deemed to need to know is that it was clearly "porkies".

    It is possible, of course, that the officer did lie. However, one would hope that any blogger who cares so much about HMRC staff would have sought to provide some sort of evidence that it was lying and not, for example, a mistake or a legitimate disagreement, so as to reassure other staff who might read this that such an accusation wouldn't be made lightly. Granted, it's been pointed out that this is an ongoing case, but we could at least have had an explanation of the reasoning behind ruling out those other possibilities and concluding: "porkies".

    Oh well.

    Stew G

  4. Much as Stew G's last-ditch attempts to defend the indefensible at HMRC irritate me sometimes, I have to say he's dead right on this one.

  5. Slow news day? Seems like a case of Mmm I haven't got anything to post today to generate an ever-dwindling response so will put up any old claptrap.

  6. Desparate to get the blog read ? Well, it worked ?!!!

    Unfortunately needed to resort to tabloid tactics to get readers...

  7. WTF!
    STEW G still sounding like a "talking head" on a U.S. politics programme...+blah, blah, blah!

    1. Terribly sorry. Comments consisting of outrage, anagrams of swear words, made up stuff and calls to bring back hanging are of course so much more constructive.


    2. Groundbait, works every time, may not attract the big fish, but my golly does it get the minnows excited.
      See, no swear words, no analgrams and nothing made up.
      Would I stick my neck out to call for the reintroduction of hanging?
      That is too barbaric, lethal injection is more accepted, however this is not the site to argue the merits of capital punishment, it is just to discuss the benefits of HMRC and the way it treats all its customers.
      So dismount Stew G, tie up your nag to the rail by the soapbox, stop letting your ego get in the way of your obvious talents, knowledge and abilities and do what you do best, better, please. (aliteration in there somewhere)
      See, can also be polite...

  8. I really can't give more details of the case in question other than the client was not represented and HMRC was talking about going back 19 years, and now he (or she) is represented and there is no more talk about going back that distance. I leave you to make your own conclusions about what has gone on.

    I work with a lot of tax advisors and at least 90 percent of these advisors were - at one time - HMRC (or Revenue) employees. They are willing to talk candidly about what they got up to when the facts were thin on the ground and there was pressure to get a result.

    In a conference organised by TaxAid a former senior HMRC inspector of 15 years, Alan Kennedy said that when evidence was thin he was regularly told to use "Force of Personality" to get results and he did not hesitate. He said, “We got away with murder… people broke down in tears and it didn’t bother me a jot, secretly I was quite pleased.” Alan now is now one of the Tax Resolutions Team at Black Star.

    In the sprit of bullying former Revenue investigator and now consultant to HMRC Simon Sweetman wrote in an AccountingWeb article, “I have worked with Inspectors who thought it a victory if the taxpayer cried…”

    Sure there are bad apples in any profession - I accept that - and I also appreciate that there are many people who pay less tax than they should. But there are rules people, and these rules exist for a reason.

    Let's aim for harder targets with more cash, rather than the softer targets that are skint.


    1. Couldn't agree more Nick, if these idiots could only put as much effort into chasing tax avoidance/evaders as they do for bullying their staff and dreaming up ethereal schemes via the magic whiteboard/pacesetter/lean route there would be more customers tax in the coffers and the taxpayers would be a happier bunch.
      They still don't get it though, HMRC does not make cars it exists to protect and collect - the revenue.
      You need some 21st century management in there, not fecking dinosaurs. Its a simple concept, upset and/or fail to listen to your staff, despite the evangelists swearing everything is OK, and you are fecked, you are going backwards, not stemming the tide.
      But HMRC must be working OK they still pay a fortune in bonuses.
      Never mind a previous comment about a horse being shot, this organisation, if it had to rely upon normal business ethics, ethos and rules would have been (ought to have been) placed in administration some years ago.
      Cataclysmic implosion awaits via the IT route.