Tuesday 4 December 2012

PAC Sweats Over RTI

Despite HMRC's oft expressed public confidence over the certainty of success of its flagship RTI, due to be launched next year, not everyone else is so confident.

In amongst the mud and mire about avoidance in yesterday's PAC report on HMRC's annual report and accounts for 2011/12, were some telling paragraphs about PAC's views on RTI.

"The next challenges HMRC faces are the roll-out of the Real Time Information system and the changes to child benefit. HMRC did not convince us that it will manage the potential increase in its workload or that it had fully considered the impact on taxpayers. There are four months to go before the main roll-out of the Real Time Information system. The system is vital for the Department for Work and Pensions’ introduction of Universal Credit, but HMRC has no contingency planning to cope with any delays in implementation."
Also here:
"HMRC is unduly complacent about the rollout of the Real Time Information (RTI) system and the child benefit changes. We are concerned that, with four months to go to the main roll out of RTI, the project has been rated amber by the Major Projects Authority. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) thinks that the Department's current plans will increase the burden on small businesses and therefore on the Department's workload. 

Similarly more individuals will be required to register for self-assessment as a result of the changes to child benefit. HMRC believes that there will be negligible impact from both sets of changes and do not have contingency plans to deal with delay or fluctuations in workload. 

By the end of March 2013, HMRC should provide the Committee with details of its plans to manage the burden on small businesses as a result of RTI; and provide credible contingency arrangements should the main rollout of RTI between April and October 2013 not go according to plan."
In the event HMRC's flagship sinks this will be a major blow to the government, for the success (or otherwise) of RTI is linked to the government's personal flagship of Universal Credit.

In the event that RTI sinks so does Universal Credit, and most likely with it the government.

Oh dear! 

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. It has been said previously, HMRC has lost its experienced staff and managers having driven many to early retirement as a result of its misguided faith in the panacea that pacesetter is not.
    Its head count has never been lower while its workload has increased beyond imagination. The drain on resources caused by the 2 discs fiasco combined with useless IT systems adds to the problems.
    Staff, the ones that do the work, have never been more disengaged and there is no longer any pride in working for this section of the civil service.The unions combined seem to have lost the plot and whilst issuing much steam and noise achieve very little.
    The public, the "customers", could not care less, wait for that to change when the whole system collapses.
    The answer, admit its all gone horribly wrong, for whatever reason, and pay for the private sector to sort out the mess because the public sector is incapable of doing it.
    get rid of the incompetent managers, many of whom should not be in charge of a W.I. meeting let alone HMRC.
    Engage the staff while there is still a chance enabling the problems to be attacked from either end.
    Oh, yes, and ditch the whiteboards and daily meetings, its not a manufacturing plant or supermarket.
    Damn, all that's been said before!
    Oh well...



  3. 12.40 I think you are being extremely unfair to the W.I. This body is a well-respected, well-run, honourable and praiseworthy institution. HMRC is none of these.

    1. Apologies to W.I.

      Should have said they should not be in charge of a booze-up in a brewery!


  4. It is clear that HMRC are already preparing for damage limitation if RTI turns out to be a clunker. The recent decision to relax the penalty regime during the first year of the new system is a sure sign that HMRC management are starting to wake up to the fact that many employers will probably not be submitting their PAYE returns on time. Moreover there appears to be no sign that businesses are rushing to adopt RTI early which means that the system will probably get hit by a massive increase in workflow next year. When that happens it will rapidly become clear whether they have got the IT specification right or not

    1. Agree totally
      The system may well come off the rails the way things are panning out
      The IT just is not up to it