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, 13 May 2015

French Lessons

My thanks to a loyal reader, who advised me of the problems that he has been having wrt submitting a client's tax forms:
"We have been sending forms to a tax office in Bristol for some years whenever a client has needed a certificate of residence to avoid the deduction of withholding tax by their foreign customers. 

Now that HMRC have decided to streamline their operations, the last letter addressed to Bristol, enclosing Form 5000 EN in triplicate, was diverted. Whereas Bristol used to turn round the forms within a week, we waited a month for a reply, which came on Glasgow headed paper. 

We are informed that these French forms are not acceptable to HMRC because they are not printed on both sides of the paper. 

We have tried to speak to someone at HMRC about this, and we have been told by one helpline that the letter was generated at Portsmouth and by another that it was generated at Cardiff. In any case, no-one is available to speak to us, but someone should phone us within three days. 

It looks like we may have to go to Francois Hollande and tell him to get his act together. We can't have the French Republic wasting paper, can we? 

If we tell him that David Cameron finds his tax forms unacceptable I wonder what he will say? 

Any guesses?"
I am surprised that the fact that the forms are not printed on both sides caused a problem. Surely double sided forms would be more problematic?

Comments and opinions are welcome.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. I have encountered the same for the Portuguese tax authorities... Form returned by HMRC, stating that it could not be processed as the pages were not double sided.

  2. C'est la merde.

  3. HMRC is terrified that residence certificates will either be used fraudulently or will be dealt with amateurishly and thus bring them into disrepute with foreign tax authorities. The result is that the staff tasked with completing them are hectored, bullied and micromanaged to the nth degree and forced to follow conflicting instructions. Some of these are written by Ivory-towered specialists, the rest by dolts. Result: chaos!

  4. What next all correspondence whether in manuscript or otherwise to be written on both sides of each piece of paper - just wait for the ink to leach through from one side of the paper to the other!