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 August 2013

Taxpayers Pay Mandarins' Tax

I am gemused to see that, as ever in life, there is one rule for those in power and another for the rest of us.

The Telegraph reported over the weekend that Whitehall departments are paying the tax bills for perks such as official cars, first-class rail travel and rent-free accommodation; ie the taxpayers (that's us folks) are covering part of the tax bills of the Mandarins of Whitehall.

The effect of the deal is to increase the value of officials’ pay packages by up to £30,000 a year at the expense of taxpayers.

Amongst those who benefit/benefited from the scheme are Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary; Sir David Nicholson, the head of NHS England; and Phillippa Williamson, the former head of the Serious Fraud Office.

In the private sector, the cost of tax on benefits is usually met by the employee, not the employer.

Ironically Sir Jeremy has had a leading role in the current austerity programme, and warned that Britain (mandarins excepted) faced at least another four years of austerity.

A spokesman for the Cabinet Office is quoted:
We are following established HMRC procedure which has been in place for many years.” 
A Department of Health spokesman said:
Benefits in kind payments are paid to recognise [senior officials’] need to travel to carry out their roles. These payments are in line with HMRC guidance.”
A spokesman for the MoD said that its decision to pay the tax has been “fully endorsed by HMRC”.
That's alright then!

HMRC claimed that the arrangements were “common practice”. However, when pressed, it provided figures that show that only 20,000 of 3.6 million benefit in kind claims were paid for by employers.

The issue is not one of a breach of tax rules (which of course haven't been breached), but it is of concern that those who "govern" us and tell us we need to pay our taxes and endure austerity do not have to endure certain aspects of taxation themselves.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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