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, 2 May 2017

Tribunal Quashes HMRC Fine

My thanks to a loyal reader for passing on this recent tribunal case, in which HMRC's £300 fine is quashed and HMRC come out of it looking like idiots.

"The Notice relied upon by the respondents is so poorly thought through and so inadequately drafted that it fails the requirement of certainty and precision, which is a fundamental requirement ( as explained above ) .

In this context it is also worth pointing out that the requirements made of the recipient of a Notice must be discernible from within the four corners of the Notice itself unless some other document is specifically incorporated by reference.

It will not do for it to be argued, as it was argued before us, that some of the details about requested information might have been gleaned by looking at the earlier correspondence. That might be so; it might not be so. However, that is not a legitimate way to proceed because the Notice must be self - contained and must be construed to establish precisely what information and/or documents it properly requires the recipient to provide.

A taxpayer cannot be in breach of a Notice unless it is a valid notice. By “valid” we mean one which meets the requirements of certainty and precision, which we have discussed above.

For the two separate reasons that we have set out above , this appeal is allowed and the £300 penalty quashed."

'Nuff said!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. We read about HMRC SCS bonuses and over-inflated salaries and then you see, among many issues:

    1. Staff sending letters to the public which are so amateurish and incorrect its almost unbelievable

    2. A work force lacking in discipline, rules & order

    3. Large scale staff reductions which put tax collection at risk.

    4. Regular criticism from the PAC, the media, the law and others

    5. And now this a Notice, "which is so poorly thought through" that the Tribunal chucked it out (more tax payers money wasted).

    You'd be forgiven for thinking the senior management are a bunch of incompetent wasters...

    1. They can waste money with their incompetence, without consequence, because its not theirs, its yours dear taxpayers.

  2. A totally clueless and unaware department. They have a CEO who to read his Hmrc twitter you might think is ex-forces, but he has not served in the military at all. He was the mandarin at the MOD and needs to get over that now and focus on HMRC. I can't imagine it does much for HMrc staff morale. The focus should be tax, tax and tax - that way they might raise their game and become just a little more professional. Pathetic.

  3. All this at a time when the media are reporting that HMRC's online tax calculator is wrong and could mean some taxpayers are paying too much tax. Of course, all good citizens want to pay their full taxes but its not fair to overpay as a result of HMRC failings - particularly when some others are getting away with avoidance and evasion and when parts of the public sector waste so much money e.g. HMRC away days at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

    Is there literally no beginning to this joke of a tax department's talents?

  4. It wasn't hard for HMRC to get this right. It really was quite simple work. The only explanation is laziness on behalf of the officer who 'drafted' the "notice" and/or incompetence and/or lack of training. None of it would be surprise to those well educated on the ways of HMRC.

    Anyway, no harm done, it's only a little bit more taxpayers money down the taxpayers all have money trees, don't we?

  5. Maybe any new Government on 8th June should take a look at senior 'fatcat' pay at HMrc. Bonuses should be scrapped. The only pay would be the over generous salaries which would be subject to what we might call 'penalty' deductions depending on the number of errors HMrc make annually.

  6. A Notice is no different from a letter from a staff viewpoint in the sense that you process them on the same internal system and many important sections give multiple choice options. Sometimes there may be no option available that accurately covers the circumstances so the steer is invariably to select the option nearest to the circumstances of the particular taxpayer. They then ring up the following week to ask why the notice makes no sense. Many of them are unaware that they may be invalid.

    1. Interesting. Hopefully they won't be unaware if this gets reported across mainstream media. All those affected should challenge it. Its imperative that HMRC wake up and start doing things correctly!

    2. In response to @15:22, some letters or 'notices' have a free format section to explain how you have arrived at your decision. But not all, I can from the top of my head think of one that provides no option to cover a certain circumstance relating to a tax return 12 or more months late. As we have not seen the letter in question we are left guessing but I would take a stab in the dark and say that if sloth, nonchalance, obsessive and frequent whiteboard gatherings, cheerful phone chats with friends, conniving corridor chats with colleagues ,a willingness to volunteer for every daft meeting,workshop, training course or day visit to another location with a free train ride and lunch; then if any of these are part of the cause then it won't be the worker; rather the SOP compilers, training officers/QC's, along with their HO/SO all of course working to 'Pacesetter Standards'; which will have been the cog in the wheel.

    3. @ 17:25 - we had wondered if HMrc staff actually do any real work and your reply suggests the answer is (for far too many gravy train passengers): NO

      Anything but real work appears to be their problem!

    4. When HMRC staff are reportedly having "conniving corridor chats with colleagues" it makes me wondering whether this is aimed at taxpayers or other colleagues. They don't half sound like a petty and vindictive group. They're in comfortable jobs where, apparently if you kiss the right backsides you can do as little as you want and behave with impunity; and then they behave like that. Whatever's the matter with these people?

    5. @ 18:20 cross out 'at taxpayers' (whats one of those) and what you have written sails very close to the truth.
      However,in nearly 20 years at HMRC I would add that once the useful backsides to kiss are identified, a struggle ensues to plant the kisses as there is only room for so many at a time. I have witnessed some legendary 'in house'battles, some with charm and guile in equal abundance, accompanied by tears and hate. While some are simply able to emanate a convincing professional aura from their poppycock and don't make enemies with anyone else.

    6. Have just read my reply above and I omitted to add that while many are perhaps in comfortable jobs,the rest of us are working under pressure and are the chess pieces on the board. For every one with a cosy number there is someone suffering somewhere, or it would not be sustainable. It's just so bloody annoying for the honest amongst us too see as many as 1 in 3 doing not a lot for higher reward. Ryvita Crispbread and low fat Yoghurt are their forte.

  7. Is there any acceptable reason why HMRC can't even perform simple, basic tasks without messing up?

  8. With the number of issues still coming out of HMRC, from routine incompetence to senior management's eye watering bonus payments through to alleged outright wrongful conduct, it needs to be a General Election matter.

    Need to ask candidates, and their parties, what they will do, if elected, to make HMRC more accountable for its actions & performance, and moreover what will they do to clean it up.

  9. HMRC's incompetence is breath-taking but sadly unsurprising. I don't doubt the implication of one of the above comments that around a third of staff do very little work at all. That's why their now even getting so ridiculous they turn away payments (yes, really!!!). While all this waste is occurring, which senior management are ultimately responsible for, simultaneously they are collecting taxpayer funded pay packets which many find obscene, in addition to bonuses for failure and gold-plated pensions - these are issues which the average taxpayer is very angry about when they have experience of being treated like filth by HMRC.

    This is indeed an election issue - we need politicians with guts to take on this unelected, unaccountable part of the establishment elite. Drain the swamp. We need a tax system in which the public can have total trust and confidence.