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.

Monday, 14 June 2021

HMRC's Half Arsed Attempt To Reopen Agent Phone Line

 


HMRC is restoring priority access to the ADL from Monday 14 June 2021 and committed to call waiting times of less than 10 minutes. However, the ADL will not handle certain types of calls where digital alternatives are available.

Following lengthy discussions with professional bodies including ICAEW, HMRC has now agreed to restore priority access to the agent dedicated line (ADL), starting on Monday 14 June, initially on a trial basis. HMRC has confirmed it is expecting to answer all calls to the ADL within 10 minutes.

ICAEW’s Tax Faculty welcomes this positive development even though it falls short of restoring the pre-pandemic position and encourages members to play their part by adhering to HMRC’s guidance on the use of the line.

The removal of priority access from the ADL at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, along with delays across most HMRC services and the additional demands from clients has had a major impact on agents.

HMRC’s central role in the government’s response to COVID-19 has been resource intensive and has had implications for its day-to-day operations. HMRC acknowledges that it has not been able to provide the level of service that it would like.

How to use the line

The ADL will be open from 08:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday. ICAEW is aware that agents have become accustomed to phoning as soon as the helpline opens as that has been the best time to get a call answered, HMRC has asked that calls be spread during the day to help it to manage demand.

To allow HMRC to provide priority access to agents it has listed the types of call that it will not accept on the ADL, because a digital service is available or the client has access to the information.

Agents are expected to use the following digital services rather than phoning the ADL:

Agents are expected to obtain pay and tax details and employment histories from their clients and HMRC is encouraging the use of the personal tax account where clients can obtain this information. This has been HMRC’s position since 2017; over time more HMRC staff have been prepared to provide these details over the phone but HMRC will be tightening up on this.

This approach is partly driven by GDPR considerations as HMRC has some concerns over whether 64-8s allow it to disclose this information directly to agents. Where necessary HMRC will send the information to the client by post. HMRC is developing a service to give agents access to this information, along with details of tax codes.

Agent income record service

The agent income record viewer service is still in private beta testing and so is limited to a small number of agents. HMRC is now extending the service to a further 200 agents. If you would like to be part of this trial, please contact Denise Beat via hmrcirvrequest@hmrc.gov.uk.

The service involves a one-off digital handshake which needs to be completed by the client so is not suitable for all clients.

HMRC hopes to be able to extend the agent income record viewer service to all agents in the future and is also working on more streamlined agent authorisation processes.

ICAEW is pressing HMRC to address the issues with the self assessment pre-population service which is also important in addressing this need.

Other service improvements

HMRC has also indicated that it is working on the use of scanning technology to improve the processing of R40 (Claim for repayment of tax deducted from savings and investments) for PPI interest taxed at source and other high demand forms.

It is about time that HMRC reopened the ADL, but it is not great that they are doing so in a half arsed manner!


Tax does have to be taxing.

Tax Investigation Insurance

Having a Solar Protect Tax Investigation Insurance policy at your disposal means that should you be one of the many 1000's of businesses or individuals that are selected by HMRC each year to look into your tax affairs your own accountant (your tax return agent) can get on and defend you robustly.

You have the peace of mind knowing that your accountant's (your tax return agent) fees will be paid by the insurance without any Excess for you to find.

Tax Investigation Insurance is an insurance policy that will fully reimburse your accountants (your tax return agent) fees up to £100,000 if you are subject to enquiry by or dispute with HMRC.

A Solar Protect policy will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to:
  • Deal with any correspondence from HMRC
  • Attend any meeting with HMRC
  • Appeal to the First-tier Tribunal or Upper Tribunal
  • Having the security of knowing that fees will be met in full will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to defend your position robustly

Please click here for details.

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"

Thursday, 10 June 2021

HMRC's MTD "Sleepwalking To Disaster"

 


As per Andrew Oury (partner at Oury Clark):

"My concern is that the government hasn’t considered the full ramifications of the MTD project. To my eye, it looks like MTD has been designed with a linear mindset that only has one goal: to meet revenue targets. Businesses have always had idiosyncrasies – unexpected periods of fallow earnings, for example – and, up until now, there has been some leeway in coping with them within the comparatively rigid tax framework. I also would hate entrepreneurship to be stifled in this country as a result of taxing income too rapidly.

Serious questions will need to be asked of this initiative to avoid sleepwalking into disaster."

In other words it will add to the costs of businesses and won't work in the real world.

Tax does have to be taxing.

Tax Investigation Insurance

Having a Solar Protect Tax Investigation Insurance policy at your disposal means that should you be one of the many 1000's of businesses or individuals that are selected by HMRC each year to look into your tax affairs your own accountant (your tax return agent) can get on and defend you robustly.

You have the peace of mind knowing that your accountant's (your tax return agent) fees will be paid by the insurance without any Excess for you to find.

Tax Investigation Insurance is an insurance policy that will fully reimburse your accountants (your tax return agent) fees up to £100,000 if you are subject to enquiry by or dispute with HMRC.

A Solar Protect policy will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to:
  • Deal with any correspondence from HMRC
  • Attend any meeting with HMRC
  • Appeal to the First-tier Tribunal or Upper Tribunal
  • Having the security of knowing that fees will be met in full will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to defend your position robustly

Please click here for details.

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"

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

HMRC's "Need To Know" Definition - "No One Needs To Know"



Tax does have to be taxing.

Tax Investigation Insurance

Having a Solar Protect Tax Investigation Insurance policy at your disposal means that should you be one of the many 1000's of businesses or individuals that are selected by HMRC each year to look into your tax affairs your own accountant (your tax return agent) can get on and defend you robustly.

You have the peace of mind knowing that your accountant's (your tax return agent) fees will be paid by the insurance without any Excess for you to find.

Tax Investigation Insurance is an insurance policy that will fully reimburse your accountants (your tax return agent) fees up to £100,000 if you are subject to enquiry by or dispute with HMRC.

A Solar Protect policy will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to:
  • Deal with any correspondence from HMRC
  • Attend any meeting with HMRC
  • Appeal to the First-tier Tribunal or Upper Tribunal
  • Having the security of knowing that fees will be met in full will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to defend your position robustly

Please click here for details.

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"

Friday, 28 May 2021

HMRC's Charter is Broken


 

Loyal readers will recall that HMRC's Charter has been mentioned a few times over the years on this site.

Unsurprisingly, there is quite a gap between its intentions and HMRC's actual performance.

The ICAEW notes that HMRC has struggled to maintain business-as-usual service levels during the coronavirus pandemic and cannot improve services as envisaged in its Charter without more resource.

After gathering feedback from ICAEW members, the Tax Faculty has written to HMRC’s Charter Stakeholder Group outlining concerns about how HMRC performed against its Charter during 2020/21.

Published in November 2020, the Charter outlines what taxpayers can expect when interacting with HMRC. It includes standards of behaviour and values, such as getting things right, making things easy and being responsive.

In ICAEW Rep 43/21, ICAEW acknowledges that HMRC deserves commendation for its work in delivering COVID-19 financial support schemes, but concludes that this has come at the expense of its standard work with the day-to-day experience of taxpayers and agents continuing to deteriorate.

It concludes: 

HMRC’s performance against the standards in the Charter reflects the limited resources available to it, with the result that it has struggled to provide a satisfactory level of operational business-as-usual performance let alone update its systems to improve online services for taxpayers and agents.

The government has provided some funding, but substantial improvement is likely to take the 10 years envisaged in the tax administration strategy.

ICAEW warns that poor systems and inadequate training mean that HMRC’s staff are not able to deliver the commitment to “get things right” in the Charter. It highlights data processing in PAYE real time information, self assessment calculations and out of date tax codes as examples of long-standing issues caused by HMRC systems.

Furthermore, the faculty argues: 

“HMRC has considerably more work to do to live up to the Charter standard to make things easy, in particular in relation to online services.”

It cites the trust registration service and the online portal for reporting capital gains, as examples of new services that have not only failed to make tax administration any easier, but actually introduced “many additional problems”.

In examining HMRC’s responsiveness, ICAEW argues that HMRC needs to focus on returning services to pre-pandemic levels. 

“Taxpayers need a commitment from HMRC about when service levels (and helpline hours) will return to target standards, and in particular when priority access might be restored to the agent dedicated line.”

While it struggled to maintain service levels during 2020/21, ICAEW confirms that HMRC has generally been able to meet its commitments to treat taxpayers fairly and with respect, being aware of taxpayers’ personal situations (particularly the impact of COVID-19) and keeping data secure.

On its commitment to recognise that taxpayers can be represented by another, ICAEW concludes that while this is often met, there are: “…instances where gaps in online services for agents and cumbersome agent authorisation processes mean that, in practice, it is often made very difficult to be represented by a third party.

ICAEW’s response will inform the Charter Stakeholder Group’s evaluation of the extent to which HMRC has demonstrated the standards of behaviour and values in its Charter. The group’s conclusions will be published in an Annual Report later in 2021.

The ACCA also wades in, Glenn Collins (Head of ACCA Technical Advisory)stated:

A lack of necessary investment risks has damaged the relationship HMRC has with compliant taxpayers and agents.

The people who end up holding the cost and inconvenience are taxpayers and accountants. The cost is being pushed down to those who are causing the least problems for HMRC. You simply have to look at the delays in VAT registration for new businesses, who are looking to pay VAT to the exchequer but can’t get registered.”

These criticisms and suggestions are all very well, but HMRC is not going to fix them anytime soon. In the meantime taxpayers and their agents are screwed, as HMRC has basically ground to juddering halt!


Tax does have to be taxing.

Tax Investigation Insurance

Having a Solar Protect Tax Investigation Insurance policy at your disposal means that should you be one of the many 1000's of businesses or individuals that are selected by HMRC each year to look into your tax affairs your own accountant (your tax return agent) can get on and defend you robustly.

You have the peace of mind knowing that your accountant's (your tax return agent) fees will be paid by the insurance without any Excess for you to find.

Tax Investigation Insurance is an insurance policy that will fully reimburse your accountants (your tax return agent) fees up to £100,000 if you are subject to enquiry by or dispute with HMRC.

A Solar Protect policy will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to:

  • Deal with any correspondence from HMRC
  • Attend any meeting with HMRC
  • Appeal to the First-tier Tribunal or Upper Tribunal
  • Having the security of knowing that fees will be met in full will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to defend your position robustly

Please click here for details.

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"

Monday, 24 May 2021

John Andrews Nails It!



Tax does have to be taxing.

Tax Investigation Insurance

Having a Solar Protect Tax Investigation Insurance policy at your disposal means that should you be one of the many 1000's of businesses or individuals that are selected by HMRC each year to look into your tax affairs your own accountant (your tax return agent) can get on and defend you robustly.

You have the peace of mind knowing that your accountant's (your tax return agent) fees will be paid by the insurance without any Excess for you to find.

Tax Investigation Insurance is an insurance policy that will fully reimburse your accountants (your tax return agent) fees up to £100,000 if you are subject to enquiry by or dispute with HMRC.

A Solar Protect policy will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to:
  • Deal with any correspondence from HMRC
  • Attend any meeting with HMRC
  • Appeal to the First-tier Tribunal or Upper Tribunal
  • Having the security of knowing that fees will be met in full will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to defend your position robustly

Please click here for details.

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"

Friday, 21 May 2021

ICAEW Gives HMRC a Well Deserved Kicking

 

ICAEW members are reporting that poor performance is being experienced across almost all HMRC services and ICAEW has been pressing for greater transparency about the problems being experienced and for a clear recovery plan. The Tax Faculty outlines the problems that have been raised and the action it has taken.

Over the past 12 months ICAEW members have reported numerous service issues and delays across a range of HMRC services.

  • The main concern of members in practice is the withdrawal of priority access from the agent dedicated line (ADL). There are long wait times and reduced hours on other helplines and significant delays in processing registrations and repayment claims. ICAEW members have reported call waiting times of 40 mins to an hour on HMRC’s helplines and calls being cut off.
  • Other examples quoted by ICAEW members include taxpayers still waiting up to three months for Unique Taxpayer References (UTRs) to be issued for self assessment registrations, five months for VAT registrations to be completed, up to six months for research and development relief claims to be processed and more than six months for carry back of corporation tax losses to be actioned.

The current service levels not only increase the burdens and costs for taxpayers and HMRC but, as the UK moves out of the pandemic, could damage the recovery due to inhibiting new businesses from starting up and stifling the growth of existing businesses.

Throughout the pandemic, ICAEW has acknowledged the pressure on HMRC’s resources and its considerable achievements in delivering COVID-19 related support. HMRC acknowledges the poor service performance and attributes it to having had to reallocate staff to work on the COVID-19 support schemes and an unexpectedly high level of staff absence due to the pandemic, as well as EU exit work.

ICAEW appreciates the problems that HMRC has faced over the past year and stands ready to give what support it can to HMRC to bring forward a clear recovery plan. ICAEW has called for the restoration of priority access to the agent dedicated line for many months and representatives have attended two meetings specifically arranged to discuss this issue.

ICAEW has also pressed for an improvement to service standards at the bi-monthly meetings of the Representative Bodies Steering Group (RBSG) where Tax Faculty representatives have raised the problems encountered by members. Specific issues have also been raised directly with the relevant HMRC team and through the Issues Overview Group and the faculty has made the case for greater transparency by HMRC, with more information about delays and problems in the system being made publicly available.

ICAEW calls upon HMRC to publish a clear recovery plan and encourages HMRC to work more closely with the professional bodies to improve service levels so as to restore them to a sustainable level as soon as possible.

The Tax Faculty encourages all members to report service issues on the HMRC online agent forum as that supports ICAEW when escalating the issues with HMRC.


Tax does have to be taxing.

Tax Investigation Insurance

Having a Solar Protect Tax Investigation Insurance policy at your disposal means that should you be one of the many 1000's of businesses or individuals that are selected by HMRC each year to look into your tax affairs your own accountant (your tax return agent) can get on and defend you robustly.

You have the peace of mind knowing that your accountant's (your tax return agent) fees will be paid by the insurance without any Excess for you to find.

Tax Investigation Insurance is an insurance policy that will fully reimburse your accountants (your tax return agent) fees up to £100,000 if you are subject to enquiry by or dispute with HMRC.

A Solar Protect policy will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to:
  • Deal with any correspondence from HMRC
  • Attend any meeting with HMRC
  • Appeal to the First-tier Tribunal or Upper Tribunal
  • Having the security of knowing that fees will be met in full will enable your Accountant (your tax return agent) to defend your position robustly

Please click here for details.

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"