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, 4 January 2013

Hanging On The Telephone - A Letter To Gauke

My thanks to a loyal reader who copied me an email that he has sent to David Gauke wrt waiting times etc when calling HMRC.

Strictly speaking there is no minister with specific overall responsibility for HMRC. However, Gauke is the closest thing to such.

Here is the text of the email, which I have been given permission to publish; I understand that my loyal reader will send Gauke an email everytime he is on hold.

To: ""
Sent: Tuesday, 1 January 2013, 12:24
Subject: HMRC telephones

Hello Mr Gauke
I understand you are the minister responsible for HMRC. I can only assume you have done something wrong to deserve this!
I noted the heavy criticism of HMRC's use of 0845 numbers to defraud the public and wondered why nothing has been done about it. The current VAT help line has a 3 minute+ recorded 'did you know' message before one can even select a number to begin the queuing process.
We are a small accountancy practice which spends most of is telephone bills - £150 a month - calling and being kept waiting on HMRC 0845 telephone numbers. I intend to bill HMRC for this money along with the time spend waiting beyond 2 minutes at our usual rate of £55 an hour with effect from 1 February 2013. We shall send the invoices marked for your attention at your address. If I do not hear back from you in the next 7 days I shall assume this is acceptable to you on behalf of HMRC. We will also commence billing HMRC whenever it claims we are not authorised to act on behalf of a client because their computer system or operators cannot find our authority. Again we shall assume this is acceptable to HMRC unless we hear to the contrary within 7 days. For the avoidance of any doubt this is 7 working days, which for most of us outside the la la land of the public sector means 365 days a year.
We are also concerned that HMRC is currently advising (on a recorded message taking several minutes to get to, on an 0845 number of course) that it will take in excess of 5 weeks for 64-8 forms to be processed due to the busy time of the year. It is ironic that HMRC is always busy in December/January because HMRC makes it so and then uses it as an excuse to be even more inefficient than normal!
Please take this e-mail as advance notification that December 2013 and January 2014 will also be busy due to HMRC making it so. This gives you as the minister 11 months advance notice to be prepared.
Kind regards

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  1. He forgot to mention penalising HMRC for late payment.

    1. HMRC - robbers without weapons or disguise!

  2. Excellent email. Not sure why 0845 number is considered penal unless one is daft enough to call on a mobile....
    Most inclusive landline plans will include 0845 at no extra cost.

    However, I fully approve of the sentiment otherwise because I too am sick of waiting through endless messages. The amount of goodwill that would be engendered by having a native English speaker answer the phone, talk to the person calling and THEN direct them to the appropriate part of the system with a warning if necessary about waiting times. COMBINE the personal touch with the technology.

  3. If you are a small accountancy firm (who specialise in tax) surely you should know about HMRC's agent priority lines, which allow you to skip the que and speak to the more experienced advisors on lines? Or is it that you can't be bothered and just using this as an excuse to moan

    1. Not to mention the tax advisors that clients go to ask a question, and then call HMRC charging theor clients an extortionate mark-up.

      Of course, only have their clients best interests at heart though... *cough*

      HMRC is a dogs dinner, and those running it have historically shown themselves to be inept, but some of this self righteousness from accountants is laughable. If HMRC were better at carrying out their work half of the accountancy firms would be out of business.

    2. This.

      No hope of any objectivity on a blog run by an accountant, and haunted by obsessed lunatics with grudges.

      Just 'sayin.............................