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, 21 November 2012

HMRC's Debt Collection Tactics II

By happenstance, at the every same time that I was writing yesterday's article about HMRC's debt collection tactics, a fellow blogger and loyal reader (Dick Puddlecote) was writing about his own personal experience of HMRC's debt collection tactics.

Here is his piece in full:
"The oddest thing happened this morning.

Sitting at my desk, some woman just wandered in through our warehouse and asked to talk to a director. I replied that I'm one so how can I help. She tersely declared that she works for HMRC and demanded a payment of £15,000 for overdue corporation tax.

I was taken aback for a moment as she looked about 60 and was dressed in jeans and a sweat shirt - it's not the kind of thing one would expect her to come out with.

As it happened, the people who deal with our accounts were both at a funeral at the time, so I said I'd have to talk to them first. She, however, insisted that as I was a director I would be able to sign a cheque right there and then. Of course I could, but there was no way I would even consider doing that, especially for someone who just breezes in arrogantly from the street.

She fixed me with a surprised glare (perhaps for not shitting myself when faced with a rep of the government, I dunno), before handing me her card and telling me all the nasty things that might happen if it's not paid in the next week. Now, I've often said that tax is effectively extortion with menaces, but I've never seen it illustrated in such a blatant manner.

On later talking to our credit controller, she said that we'd paid a huge amount up front and were just waiting for some communication of the balance due before settling it - that's what one would expect from a government agency, after all. However, we'd not received a single letter or phone call to tell us what we were supposed to pay. Wouldn't it have been much more professional - and less costly in time and, therefore, money - to ring or write rather than sending some late middle-ager round to ask for a cheque out of the blue?

And when did employing similar intimidatory methods to 1930s mafia protection racketeers become an acceptable state policy?

By coincidence, Ken Frost has today provided another example of eager HMRC debt collectors turning up unannounced and demanding cash."
It seems, as the old saying goes, that there's a lot of it about!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Of course the simplest way out of this problem would be to pay the tax you owe.

    People who owe tax don't like paying tax. Hold the front page.

  2. 'Now, I've often said that tax is effectively extortion with menaces'
    - Is this one of the Starbucks, Google or eBay directors?

    I have heard the 'I didn't get your letter' hundreds of times- even when I have personally hand delivered it a few weeks before.

  3. Dear anonymice,

    Did you read what this person wrote. They have NO idea of the amount. Why do you effectively call him a liar. There is certainly no reason for him to lie here. (yes he's being a bit ageist - says she - 61 and counting) but I agree, jeans and a sweatshirt.
    I would think the FIRST thing to do would be hand over suitable ID with a number that could be rung to check the veracity of the person's identity. But the Revenue DO cock up with frightening regularity.
    I'm certainly glad he did not pay this woman anything (some of my clients bless them might have out of fear) until the amount could be checked.

  4. Corporation Tax is SELF ASSESSED. The company knows what tax it is due to pay. It knows what tax it has paid.

    And it shouldn't wait for a letter or telephone call to pay it.

  5. Hear Hear 11:17. Corporation Tax (cotax)is due to be paid 9 months and 1 day after the accounting period end date and the return does not need to be filed until 12 months after the accounting period end date so it is normal for companies to pay the cotax and without a "bill" having been issued by hmrc