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, 20 November 2012

HMRC's Debt Collection Tactics

My thanks to a loyal reader, who wrote to me last week about the problems that some of her clients are having with HMRC's debt collection tactics. She asks if anyone else is having similar problems:
"I am accountant acting as agent for several small companies who, through no fault of their own and generally, due to cash flow issues caused by their dealings with large corporate entities, are late with their payments of PAYE.  

These companies are regularly late but not overly - it may be that they are making monthly payments up to 3 weeks behind schedule.

HMRC have taken to sending collection agents to the companies, without warning, to visit and threaten to distrain over goods and assets, usually with no information as to the amounts of PAYE due: they are speaking to any employee they come across without gaining preliminary security clearance.  

If I were to do this, as an unsecured creditor, to any of my clients who were 30 days late in paying my account, it would be construed as harassment, yet HMRC consider themselves above this.  

Despite explaining to these agents that the employer they are harassing is not holding off PAYE because they want to and that as soon as cash flow permits, payment will be made which is evidenced by the employers payment history, regular visits are being made to premises which unsettles employees to put it mildly, and time wasted on these visits which could be put to better use in production of goods or services.  

Employers are aware that interest will be charged on late payment and this is accepted, but constant harassment should not be allowable, particularly as small employers are held up to be the 'saviour' of the UK GDP by Government spin doctors and that their voices are being heard when this is clearly not the case.

I have written formally to complain, but the letters go unheeded.

Has anyone else suffered like this, to your knowledge?  

I would very much welcome discussion on this."
As ever feedback and comments are welcome.

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Taxwise.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is TAXWISE?

TAXWISE is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Taxwise

Tax Investigation for Dummies, by Nick Morgan, provides a good and easy to read guide for anyone caught up in an HMRC tax investigation. A must read for any Self Assessment taxpayer.

Click the link to read about: Tax Investigation for Dummies

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"


  1. This farcical situation is typical of the Muppet Show fantasy scriptwriters!

    On the one hand we have Cameron & Co. plus HMG "berating" big business for its unethical trading methods, including enforced extended payment terms to the suppliers, and on the other HMRC apparently chasing the debt of the little people, possibly outwith the Law of Distraint. If an agent acting for HMRC does not, cannot or will not explain how the debt is made they maybe should be turned away, unless of course they are in possession of a legal distraint warrant (still in use?), but even then, how accurate is the information thereon?
    Given the inability of HMRC systems to be capable of being up to date on "customers" remittances against alleged tax owed, let alone any time to pay agreements, what do you expect when tou put things out to the private sector to deal with? After all, look at how the banks dealt with tax-free investment (bailout) by the "customer", they earnt interest on it!

    As for writing to this bunch, don't hold your breath waiting for a reply, even MP's are finding it hard to elicit truthful responses.

    Makes you wonder what exactly is happening in the asylum?

  2. In a word 'privatisation'. These debt collectors are private companies.

    1. You are wrong about that. Hmrc does use private debt collection agencies, but these debt collection agencies are not authorised to visit company or taxpayer premises so if people have been visited by private debt collectors then they need to report this to the police.

    2. They are still private companies acting on instruction from HMRC - who of course would never condone such practices it would be like doing sweetheart deals with big corporations

    3. no, private debt collection agencies are not being used to collect in -year paye payments that are three weeks late.

    4. absolutely - in year paye payments that are 3 weeks late. That is MY money, the employee. It has been deducted from MY wages and should be paid over ON TIME.

  3. I haven't come across these tactics yet but I'm certain I will very soon.

    What surprises me is that it's always the small people. Look at this story and you'll realise if you're going to owe HMRC money, make sure it's a decent amount each month!

  4. How about this tactic reported by Dick Puddlecote. Not for paye, but for corp tax.

    1. I have just read the report by DP and am appalled for a number of reasons;
      i) the posting by anonymous @ 20:21 is bad enough when you consider what it raises
      ii) anyone stating they are working for any part of HMG must identify themselves as such with an ID - if you know what this looks like collect a prize
      iii) anyone dressed so casually unless they are kicking your door in with a warrant in their hands should be shown the door, if they refuse to leave call the Police on 999 and tell them someone is trying to obtain money by deception whilst saying they are a Govt official
      iv) irrespective as to who it is, an employee or an agent of HMRC clad in jeans and a t-shirt is not acceptible at the "customer" interface, the whiteboards don't allow for it, also it is a breach of HMRC standards, unless of course there are none left

  5. "HMRC have taken to sending collection agents to the companies, without warning, to visit and threaten to distrain over goods and assets, usually with no information as to the amounts of PAYE due: they are speaking to any employee they come across without gaining preliminary security clearance."

    I would maintain that this action is illegal, it is performed by agents with no apparent idea of the amount of tax due - how do you levy distraint without an established amount of tax and/or penalty/imterest due?

    This should be hitting headline press at this stage, although I doubt there is a media enterprise left that could deal with it without being accused of hypocrisy! Maybe Private Eye could take up the challenge, don't bother with the Gruniad they are as bad as the rest. LOL!

    I don't know the implications of failing to adhere to the laws of distraint but I am sure there must be some out there who do.

    Wake up out there, the asylum gates are open, you pay these idiots wages one way or another FFS!

    1. You,quite literally,know feck all of which you speak.

      Please tell me you are not a professional,charging for advice?

      Dear God.

  6. The paye being paid late by employers is made up of tax and national insurance deducted from employees' wages and is not theirs to keep hold of. I can understand the employer's national insurance being paid late due to cash flow difficulties but not the employees' deductions. BTW, interest is only charged on outstanding amou nts if still outstanding after tax year ends, 19th or 22nd april. Late in-year payments can result in late pyt penalties being charged.

  7. I started to sympathise in the leading article until I read
    “These companies are regularly late but not overly - it may be that they are making monthly payments up to 3 weeks behind schedule.”

    Make payments on time!! i have no choice my PAYE is deducted each month why should any employer use money deducted on my behalf for "cash flow issues"

  8. I am sure the taxpayers/"customers" money being held and misused by the banks rather than being made available for their customers to use, as was the intention, or the taxpayer/"customers" repayments or other monies due from HMRC but delayed fits the same bill as well!
    Also, given an option in this current climate, many Smee's feel the need to delay paying their tax obligations in order to survive, particularly if they are dealing with big business, let alone HMRC whose track record for paying suppliers on time is atrocious.
    None of which excuses the appalling standards exhibited by HMRC staff/agents at the "customer" interface.
    Just wait until RTI kicks in and screws up the whole process, just imagine when they have your salary paid to their agents in order to handle all the deductions and make them, before paying you what they think you should receive.
    Yes its all coming soon to a taxpayer near you.
    Given the past performances of the Muppet show when it comes to handling sensitive (e.g. 2 discs) data I can't wait to see the mess the private sector IT and associated companies make of things. Muppet Show pensions already come through the private sector as does salary, and don't forget taxcodes are regularly incorrect and remain so as the system can't seem to get the result correct even though it holds the updated and correct data, this I know from personal experience.
    I would happily accept the postings of the previous 2 readers if the Muppet Show was doing what it said on the box, but it isn't.

  9. What a lot of ill informed nonsense is spouted here. These people are employees of HMRC,who work in Debt Managements field force network. They are allowed, and indeed obliged, to collect late PAYE. Cash flow is not an acceptable reason for late payment. As has been pointed out, employees have no discretion as to when tax and NI are deducted.What employers are doing here is using HMRC money to keep their business afloat. And gaining a significant commercial advantage over their competitors, who do pay on time. The visiting HMRC employees DO NOT need a warrant to levy distraint. They DO NOT need a court order. They can levy distraint on estimated PAYE amounts.They all carry HMRC identification. Perhaps asking to see it might be an idea? What "appalling standards" are being alluded to here? Scruffy dress? A nice smart bowler hat, and pin striped suit went a very long time ago. If they are rude, complain. But please understand that they are usually pursuing tax not paid on time. Any complaint about the fact of their visit, if tax is outstanding, will not succeed.
    The previous poster, in his rants, is more often than not wrong,and knows he is on this issue. Throwing up dust about the banks,datagate,amd HMRC paying suppliers late cannot obscure this simple fact....If a business cannot pay its PAYE on time, there is something seriously wrong with it. PAYE, at the point of deducion, is HMRC's money. Failure to pay it is theft, and delay in paying it is akin to embezzlement.

    1. I think you would fare well in North Korea, comrade.

  10. lol..... I have made a made a mental note to skip over any post which mentions Muppets,Muppet Show etc,etc.

    The poster is clearly demented.

  11. Civil Servants bail the bankers out,bring the country to its knees
    then hassle people because they owe money.