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, 19 April 2017

HMRC Ignorance About NIC On Display


My thanks to a loyal twitter chum and reader for drawing this to my attention:

Please feel free to comment!

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

72 comments:

  1. This is no surprise (sadly).

    HMRC's total lack of professionalism is well known.

    The letter is overall poorly written, with bad grammar, mistakes ("calls 4" - should be, errrr Class 4) and not to mention is FACTUALLY INCORRECT.

    The writer is an Officer grade too - if someone of that 'junior management' grade doesn't understand the basics its more than worrying and explains a lot.

    Lack of knowledge and poor performance is no barrier to progression in hmrc.

    I know someone who owed some tax but HMRC refused to accept payment - repeat: refused to accept payment - you really couldn't make it up!

    What on earth are HMRC management doing???

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anyone know why HMRC don't provide their address on letters anymore, just a postcode? Feels a bit distant & remote, as though they want to keep their office address secret from us pesky tax payers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All mail goes straight to the scanning centre i am afraid. It's just as frustrating on the other side as we wait for an essential piece of correspondence to appear. Still in the brave new world all the local offices will be closed anyway!

      Delete
  3. Looking at the legislation there is no mention of Class 4 National Insurance Contributions being 'just' extra tax. It all suggests hmrc need to spend more time in training classes and less time at talking shops we often read about.

    ReplyDelete
  4. There would appear to be such a basic level of knowledge missing from even management grade HMRC staff now, that its beyond a joke. Taxpayers are getting unacceptably poor service, which wastes everyone's time in the process.

    You wouldn't call into a supermarket and a manager there not know where the fruit & veg department is located, so how and WHY do HMRC managers get away with it? Do they not appraise the performance of staff?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Self Appraisal works wonders within their competancy based regieme.
    Mutual @rse kissing supported by pacesetter, lean, common purpose and away days at football clubs tends to blind the management system to reality.
    Nothing to see here, move along, election/s and or war/s coming don't expect this bunch of idiots to be high on anyones list of things to do for some time!
    Purdah or murdah soon?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Stand up and take a bow, Ian Worthington, Officer; you are officially shite. I don't suppose written communication skills are still part of the staff appraisal system now, are they? A bit too much like a real competency and not pink and fluffy enough for the modern HMRC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GCSE English Grade G.

      Basic Accountancy/Taxation Exam: FAIL.

      HMRC performance marking: Top Performer?

      Delete
    2. I would hazard a guess that he'd been pitted in at the deep end and neglected with little training by the box tickers, then had veiled 'threats' issued for him to achieve unreasonable targets. The real culprits will be the wasteful, selfish characters around him who use him and his like to come up with competencies for their own promotion applications.These work avoiding characters who swagger around striking up mutual backscratching deals are masters of the craft of speaking hogwash, are enthusiastic partakers in Pacesetter activities, serial kitchen loiterers, shoppers, self beneficial flexi recordists, smoke break regulars and freebie takers. They operate on Banana Republic run floors or wings and are part of the cliques that have influence on how things develop and can make things bumpy for those who make unwelcome observations.

      Delete
    3. in other words the poor man has been set up to fail. No concern for him or his welfare, or the 'service' provided to taxpayers or accountants from the higher up management. They should be embarrassed at such a letter coming from an Officer grade. Disgusting.

      Concerned to read about the tax office being a Banana Republic! As we all should be given the excessive powers hmrc have over the public!

      Delete
    4. "can make things bumpy for those make unwelcome observations" = those who tell the truth will be targeted via unethical means and methods??

      Delete
    5. @ 17:13 19 April 2017 describes a culture that sounds out of control and lacking in discipline and order...

      Delete
    6. Back in January 2003 when Tax Credits began, Gordon Brown set targets for claimants getting into payment, the emphasis was on as many claimants as possible being in receipt of Tax Credits as quick as possible. An untrained workforce was dragged off the street and given little training. The work was understandably shoddy but that did not matter because it would have to be done again and a reworked case would count as two stats instead of one for Government figs.

      Though this case involves main taxes it is clear that the worker has come from another area of the Civil Service or is completely new. He will have no knowledge of the task and (as is unfortunately quite common) has clearly been given NO training and will be expected to learn by trial and error.

      Those supposedly there to train him will mostly be missing as they'll be out shopping, or in meeting after meeting where they all utter wasteful,inane nonsense to one another. More importantly, most of them will have never worked the task themselves.

      The phone will be constantly ringing and he will have to do best to be helpful ( though having no previous experience of the work) while at the same time trying to achieve a 'target'. After his quality improves through the trial and error process one of these self interest characters will emerge from the shadows and claim a success has been achieved. They will then use this as a competency in a promotion application, something like, ' I always look for ways to help and nurture others. I noticed one of the new workers looked to be struggling with his cases. I approached him, gave him reassurance and and helped him work few a couple of cases. He was soon able to work cases efficiently alone and thanked me for the help I gave him'.........actually something like this could be twisted and used for two competencies on an application form, because as well as it would fit under some 'using Pacesetter tools' nonsense.

      Delete
    7. Managers will be "out shopping" - what in HMRC time? Is that allowed?

      Delete
    8. There is a former HMRC colleague who I keep in touch with. He also worked for the CSA but due to bringing up a young family joined Aldi so that he could work FT and condense his week. He praises the work ethic in his new company, saying that no one is too proud or cute to get their hands dirty - managers will cheerfully jump on the tills themselves when needed.
      HMRC is the opposite, full of many characters whose aim is to come away from the Coalface as quickly as possible and at the same time earn more money. They strive for jobs that involve attending meeting after meeting,often making suggestions about work tasks which they have NEVER worked,and impose their ideas which tend to fail until replaced by another useless idea.They have to justify their existence so to be see doing something they invent some crap.These Groups or clusters work under very limited pressure.
      Your performance as a worker at HMRC is based 50% on something called 'behaviours'. This in the main means being 'engaged' in relation to Pacesetter activities. No one knows the true cost of this nonsense - requests have been made but no answer ever given. It's an Orwellian myth and a waste of money,but sustained by the Pigs who benefit from it and reap a lot for offering very little. These often work at the same grade as Tax Inspectors, many of whom who have reached their position by hard work and ability.

      Delete
    9. HMRC is not a place for those want to serve the public and contribute to society in their work. It really is not.
      Those who want to serve should research other areas of the public sector where that contribution can be made. If your focus is on a career with good money, prospects and development then the private sector is the place to go (in fact you can serve the public better in many private sector jobs than you ever could at HMRC).
      HMRC hates those who want to focus on real work, work hard and without fuss.

      Delete
    10. Aldi's (and other supermarkets) are much better job options than working at HMRC. Aldi's pay is quite good and they train people too.

      Delete
    11. @ 19:09 19/4: Interesting post. Provides some further insight into the state of affairs at HMRC. A model answer seemingly provided for internal promotion applications. My question(even more relevant in view of the above letter) is: is it really that easy to get promoted at HMRC?
      Do they not look at productivity stats i.e. what a person is delivering(always remembering that the first example of leadership is doing so by example),educational/vocational qualifications,skills and training etc?

      Delete
    12. Carrying out something that would be routine and expected of you could be decorated and turned into a competency.It's sort of ' I've done this I won't let it go unnoticed' even though it may be an everyday requirement of your job eg handling an abusive claimant. There is however a majority( well, just about a majority) who get on with their work and would be embarrassed to magnify their roles in such a manner.But yep, it's the way forward if you have no scruples. In fact you can get fixed term promotion on written competencies without an interview.

      Delete
  7. Ha! Promotion beckons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't there a vacancy for Director-General Customer Services Group? Continuity and consistency is always very important in managing change, perhaps a candidate to carry on delivering on the alleged "brilliant" customer service the hmrc boss recently referred to?

      Delete
  8. HMRC refusing to accept a tax payment? How do they think their wages get paid! Whatever next? Put in charge of a florists would that bunch close on Saint Valentine's Day?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judging by the infamous letter, do they even think at all?

      Delete
    2. They should accept ALL tax payments. They need it to pay Senior Management bonuses.

      Delete
  9. He will be a grade 7 in no time. Competent HMRC employees will be appalled when they see this. It should really go to the press.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its all over Twitter. Various stories emerging. One accountant tells of how a non-client letter was attached to client letter from HMRC - data protection breach?

      Looks like a reporter at The Telegraph has picked it up on twitter - maybe the Daily Mail, The Times and The Sun need to be made aware?

      Delete
    2. According to the NAO during 2014-15 there were 6041 data breaches (!!!) by HMRC but only 3 were referred to the Information Commissioner's Office. Clearly there is a problem there!

      Delete
    3. Sorry please could you provide a link to the Telegraph article?

      I can't find it.

      Thanks

      Delete
    4. It's not been published by the Telegraph (as far as I can see). Sam Brodbeck from the Telegraph responded on twitter to Sue Christensen's tweet asking for a chat - so there is some interest.

      Delete
    5. Thanks that's good to hear :)

      Delete
  10. Ooops, should read 'and helped him work through a few cases'

    ReplyDelete
  11. For an 'organisation' that is so anal when it comes to QA/QC this wouild appear to be an example of a FAIL!

    Perhaps this has already become a whiteboard self-solve problem?

    Trouble with mindsets such as lean OR pacesetter or B.S. is that they are all based on... (read carefully EXCOM whist I spell it out)... TOYOTA MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS. Thats right, a method developed in Japan to facilitate the mass production of AUTOMOBILES.

    The only issue I have seen is that it doesn't work very well, unless millions of safety based recalls are not part of the customer satisfaction journey.

    So what genius thought it would work for the Civil Service key word there Excom - SERVICE)? Clue to overall scenario, LEAN isn't and hasn't been working, stop wasting TAXPAYERS money.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Can i say as a current member of the HMRC that all of the above is 100% correct.....tax collection is now a tiny part of this circus....training is non existent...i cannot describe how awful this place has become...it's a crying shame

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The letter is appalling but is probably a direct result of the dumbing down of education over many years. Not sure publicly embarrassing the writer will benefit anyone. Beyond HMRC, even professionally qualified people who should know better seem increasingly incapable of stringing a sentence together. HMRC's official policy for letter writing now is based on a 'conversational' style which although aimed at being more approachable can at the same time look unprofessional. As for training, trying to learn in an environment where you're surrounded by constantly ringing phones and other distractions is hopeless, it's too disruptive and frequently impossible to concentrate, and that's when you can actually find the time to do any training.

      Delete
    2. If management grade staff at HMRC do not understand that Class 4 National Insurance is National Insurance and NOT tax then all taxpayers should be very worried.

      At the end of the day somebody must be responsible for the lack of professionalism and in must organisations that would be the Senior Management.

      Will they be accountable at HMRC though? How about an independent governance structure, just for a start? How about a regulator?

      Its unlikely HMRC will ever make necessary reform from within and so the higher standards that all taxpayers and accountants want to see will not happen until the politicians prioritise it.

      Delete
  13. middle management would be lost without pacesetter now. It's all they understand. They adopt a religious zeal about it because they have nothing else to offer. They worship at the idols of the whiteboard and performance charts. They salivate at the mention of problem solving "O"s and fishbones. It is no longer sufficient to be a competent productive experienced officer. I think this is an embarassment to managers who do not understand the challenges and can offer no technical support. Qualified tax inspectors have now been replaced by untrained direct entrants working to a strict set of instructions. There can be no independent thought, best judgement or discretion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. basically this suggests a bunch of chancers, well out of their depth, most in middle management jobs now doubt encouraged to progress by middle manager friends who were no doubt too weak to tell them poor performers should not be promoted i.e. they felt too weak to do their job and supported the promotion of friends they knew weren't even performing at their current rank...meanwhile good performers(hard workers who aren't friends with management)are no doubt hand selected to 'take it for the team' and accept a poor performer assessment in annual appraisals??? IF that is what is happening at hmrc it might explain why there is constant criticism from fed-up tax payers and accountants who have to deal with the SERVICE... and explains how such an incredibly poorly written and unprofessional letter was put in the post...

      Delete
    2. "No independent thought" 1984 I wonder what George Orwell would have said about it all

      Delete
    3. Pacesetter speak is quite Monty Pythonesque. For those not familiar with modern day HMRC this is the sort of conversation you may overhear between two Pacesetter Advocates:

      'Is the room secured for the Problem Solve ?

      Yes, 12 - 1.30, 15 seats including those for the three observers we have coming from Manchester. They are coming as part of a 'Go See' so I've put up a 'Come and See' chart for them to sign. They've asked to look through our 3c's as well.

      That's fine, just pick out the best few. What about the Problem Solve, are we all OK using the fishbone ?

      Shouldn't be a problem, unlike that newbie in my team who said he knows what the solution to the Problem Solve and it took him two minuites to work out what he calls the obvious. He's showed no interest in attending any problem solves, has never raised a 3c or a Shared Best Practice. Just a simpleton who does the normal work what all the others do.

      He's trouble, I'll have a word with him after. We cannot tolerate negativity. Make sure you write up the exchange you had with him and conclude that he's not fully engaged.

      OK will do and by the way I'm travelling down to Cardiff tomorrow and staying overnight. I'm looking at their Whiteboard layouts as part of a 'Go See' and will also be discussing 3c's with them.'

      Delete
    4. That could be my office, except I don't think we have fishbone diagrams yet, something to look forward to ;) Someone at HMRC just loves those Japanese quality control tools, even when they don't work!

      Delete
    5. @18.53 You really need to educate your 'newbies' not to actually say out loud that the emperor has no clothes!

      Delete
    6. Anon 18:53, you have summed up the whole turgid mess in a few well observed words. Thank you!

      Delete
    7. You could not make this up...we are exactly the same....a total waste of taxpayers money...but the very sad thing is nothing will change...these management cretins BELIEVE all this crap....God help us !!

      Delete
  14. Management is a misnomer...there's isn't any...just look at the number of comments we have had on this article....we are sinking fast.....and no one is helping us...the union are a joke...both they and so called management have bent over backwards to accommodate new blood, both direct entrants and Concentrix to the detriment of the long serving staff....this fresh meat will soon realise what a shithole this place really is.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What is a 'fishbone'? What is an 'O'? What is a 'Whiteboard'?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, what is a 'fishbone'? What is an 'O'?

      From an outsider looking at this, it does sound like lazy made-up office jargon to sound important; spoken by well-paid staff who should know better and must have better things to do like collecting some tax and picking up the telephone?

      Please do tell all.

      Delete
    2. Google ishikawa diagram

      Delete
    3. The last article covering PACESETTER was back in April 2015.
      Come on Ken, this pantomime that is nothing but a ridiculous wastage of public money has had an easy ride for too long !!!!

      Delete
    4. It might have been the last article, but by no means has it been the last comment.
      FOI on HMRC Pacesetter/Lean costings along with Common Purpose costings might give a reasonable idea about wastage.
      However, so will the truth about Mapely buy back contract details when they are published, 'loadsa money'!

      Delete
  16. Been said a million times before, but there are obviously people at grades in HMRC who should never have been allowed to be at those grades. They are obviously there, through arse licking or they have known someone higher up.
    When I worked at Customs, Belfast, the whole place was husbands and wives, old school pals and boyfriends and girlfriends. Unless you arse licked too, you went nowhere. An honest days work or helping the taxpayer, didn't come into it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Just a thought about the above letter and some of the comments - Are HMRC that far out of touch with reality that its all deemed okay???

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yesterday's Daily Mail, p.21
    "Internet sellers in £1.5Bn VAT dodge"
    NAO accuses HMRC of failing to crack down on the scam despite knowing about it for years (since 2009). The £1.5Bn is an estimate just for FYr 2015'16.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another alleged failing by HMRC.

      A lot of money lost. Just to put it in context with so many vulnerable people homeless in our country that kind of money would fund the building of around 20,000 social homes! Totally disgraceful and disrespectful too, to those of us who make great efforts to pay our tax bills.

      Surely huge questions need to be asked as to what is going on.

      Delete
    2. I have confirm that one particular office has half the staff in it (all new entrants) are doing absolutely sweet FA for the last 2 months simply because the excuse of a management do not know what to do with them....it is not their fault....this whole shamble falls squarely on the shoulders of senior management.
      I would love the Channel 4 documentary team to come in and see these staff playing chess and backgammon on taxpayers computers.
      Management has well and truly died in the HMRC..it is a disgrace

      Delete
    3. Junior managers are told that "quality" must be improved. At one whiteboard meeting I suffered the manager said "quality" 43 times. Unfortunately this is not the quality of the work or the quality of the outcome or help to the taxpayer. This is the "quality " of the processing to conform to the standard work instructions. This is all they worry about.

      Delete
    4. There is a solution to this..forget all this engagement bollocks and get on with the job we were employed to do....tax collection !!!!

      Delete
    5. An honest core of the workforce would like to be PROPERLY TRAINED IN TAX MATTERS. Sadly the rot is deeply set in and we are constantly reminded ( warned probably a better word) that PACESETTER IS AS IMPORTANT AS ANY OTHER ASPECT OF OUR ROLE. Like the old East Germany where you could be reported to the Stasi for the mildest cynicism, you keep your lips button if you know what is good for you. Anyone with COMMON SENSE can see that this claptrap is a clog in the system that prevents workers from serving the public to a standard that a reasonably minded outsider would expect.Middle management is now being populated with airheads who know everything about Pacesetter and diddly squat all about tax.

      Delete
    6. Think I exactly understand post at 16:09 21 April. Work correct but being caught out by processes changed sometimes daily as the QC's make change for changes sake and for their own promotion applications. Your e-mails with work process updates read something like this:

      06/03/17 - Can use letter T133 OR T133A. Household note T9 must not be retained.
      10/03/17 - Only letter T133 can be used. Use of T133A will be a quality fail
      11/03/17 - Household note T9 must be retained.None retention will be a quality fail.
      13/03/17 - Household note T9 must not be retained. Retention will be a quality fail.
      15/03/17 - Can use either letter T133 or T133A.
      19/03/17- If using T133 Household note T9 must be retained. If not this is a fail.

      Delete
    7. WHEN WILL THIS LUNACY END ?? WAKE UP JON THOMPSON U IDIOT !!!

      Delete
  19. Where I work we recently changed the area of tax we were investigating. Not one of us had any previous experience of the work but on the two floors above us in our building I have it in good faith that as many as 50 workers have between 5-8 years experience of this work. There are even more in another building within a few hundred yards distance. So, did they put out an expression of interest asking if any of these adept at the task would want to apply for temporary promotion as quality checkers where they would be trusted and respected by those of us learning the task ? Of course they didn't. Instead we got an odd assemble of Ragwort, none having ever worked the task themselves. So if I wrote a letter to a taxpayer saying Dear Sir, We are writing to ask you what your favourite Deep Purple album is ....that would be a quality PASS provided I retained/unretrained the HH note and similar other stuff in accordance with guidance at the time. This is how Mr Worthington's letter has probably got through the quality checking. It's all a chaotic shambles !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On balance, In Rock, I think.

      Delete
  20. Oh my goodness, what a shocking level of ineptitude from Hmrc. If this is the standard quality they deliver when responding to a most BASIC AND SIMPLE inquiry from an accountant, it makes you wonder how they deal with, and whether they have the expertise to handle, more complex high value tax avoidance and evasion ... and how much do such failings contribute to the tax gap, the deficit and subsequent tax rises (which the hard working, just about managing, honesty majority have to cough up for)?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Do HMRC staff have proper training to answer questions from the 'customers' or do they use internet search engines to try to ascertain the information? Just wondering!

    ReplyDelete
  22. 08.46 Tax is too vast an area for the staff to be trained on everything. The days of expertise is long gone, all staff now must be a 'jack of all trades & master of none' We have the HMRC Bible, a long winded step by step guidance, covering every scenario, to follow, if we can't follow that to get answer, or it is taking too long, we go on the Gov. UK website & quote what the tax payer could have looked up themselves and yeah if we really get stuck, then good old Google it is! Sometimes accountancy websites are very useful ;) I miss the days when I only answered the phone to callers who were asking about my particular area of work, I had expertise and I always knew the answer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @ 2226 Agree to a point. However, recent examples such as the appalling letter and refusal to accept a tax payment, are totally unacceptable no matter the complexities of the system. Within days of working at HMRC, taxpayers & accountants would reasonably expect management to have trained staff on the basics so that they know:
      1. The difference between Tax and National Insurance
      2. HMRC exists to collect payments on behalf of Govt.

      The very fact that the letter was issued by an Officer - a junior management grade - along with the fact staff apparently resort to using Google and accountancy websites indicates something's very wrong at HMRC.

      In summary, yes the tax code designed by HMRC is far too complex and nobody could know everything, but we do expect HMRC to provide sufficient internal guidance which is straightforward to follow, and moreover to train staff in the absolute basics (the kind of stuff most people should know anyway).

      In the old days of the IR and C&E, the departments would have been professionally embarrassed at such incompetence, nowadays the culture seems to have changed so much that actually being good at your job is only a secondary 'concern' after all the other unproductive priorities!

      Delete
    2. @08.35 "being good at your job is only a secondary 'concern' after all the other unproductive priorities!"

      That hits the Bulls-Eye and unfortunately it's a vicious circle as these 'unproductive priorities' mean there is no time for proper training which results in workers feeling pressurized to rush though cases and often having to guess - though HMRC would say workers 'sometimes have to make Judgement Calls'.Sounds a bit more professional that word!

      Delete
  23. Wrt to this shocking letter the buck stops at the top. With Senior Management. If there are failings they are responsible not junior untrained unsupported staff. They get way way way too much pay for what little if anything they bring to the show and as has been said before need to be made ACCOUNTABLE.
    Time for that independent Governance structure AND a minister for tax in the cabinet on 9th June?

    ReplyDelete
  24. An excellent opportunity for some quality investigative journalism here.

    An organisation rife with bullying from top to bottom, with a shockingly inept level of training for staff at a wide range of grades, with a plethora of silly, meritless positions invented and protected, and an overall result of a poor service provided to the public.

    HMRC staff would be able to recount their experiences without breaking any confidentiality codes, and for credibility purposes the journalist(s) would be able to verify that the persons they are speaking to are present or former bona fide employees - pension letter or wage slip would suffice.

    I suspect that some of the reports on here form just the tip of the Iceberg.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No shit, Sherlock! Where have you been for the last decade plus?

      Delete
    2. They're a public organisation in receipt of vast public money with vast powers over the public. They are not, or should not be, above scrutiny and should welcome it.

      There appeared to be media interest in the quality(or lack of) the above letter, and its imperative that the MSM investigate this and bring it to a wider audience in the public interest!

      Delete
  25. How did this happen? Its a bad enough that an HMRC manager (Officer) doesn't know what NIC is, but why was it not checked for factual and grammatical standards etc before being sent out?
    It can only be a failure of Senior Management. Is this what the HMRC Chief Executive got a £17,500 bonuses (on top of the £185k salary) for?
    The system is rigged and needs to change. Tax money should be used for the greater good, for many not just few, the 'needy not the greedy'. Filthy!!

    ReplyDelete