|Lin Homer's Philosophy|
It should come as no surprise to loyal readers to learn that PAC is still somewhat "underwhelmed" by the performance of HMRC.
PAC has stated in a new report that HMRC is "still failing UK taxpayers".
"could be considered a genuine threat to tax collection".Now read that bit again, PAC are saying that the organisation that is meant to collect tax in an efficient, professional and cost effective manner is in fact not just crap, but working against its own raison d'être!
In other words, tax collection would be more efficient, effective and professional if HMRC ceased to exist!
To add weight to its views, PAC noted that in the first half of 2015 HMRC contact centres answered only half of incoming calls, and only 39% within five minutes. Meg Hillier, chair of the PAC, is quoted by the BBC "HMRC must rapidly improve its customer service, previously described by the PAC as abysmal and now even worse". In 2014, 72% of calls had been answered.
She went on to say (as per the FT):
"It beggars belief that, having made disappointing progress on tax evasion and avoidance, the taxman also seems incapable of running a satisfactory service for people trying to pay their fair share.”
HMRC's response is that it has now recruited 3,000 more staff and that the customer service issues had not affected its ability to collect tax.
Does that response hold up in the face of reality?
I understand that every member of HMRC staff (who is trained in telephony work) is on the phones taking calls all day long, to the point where other areas of work which those staff usually deal with are abandoned for weeks at a time simply to get more bodies answering calls.
In other words, HMRC is a sinking ship in which a diminishing number of experienced, professional staff are running around trying to plug an ever increasing number of holes.
HMRC has expressed "disappointment" with PAC's views:
"We are disappointed that the Public Accounts Committee has overlooked HMRC's record results, which include collecting a record £517bn in tax revenues."In other words HMRC have no intention of improving!
Please feel free to share you experiences of dealing with/working for HMRC.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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