Friday 29 August 2008

Rewarding Failure - The Gray Scale II

Paul Gray
As HMRC continues to butcher its headcount, in the drive to "improve" efficiency and reduce costs, it must be heartening to those who have been/are about to be fired to know that Paul Gray, the ex Chairman of HMRC who was responsible for losing 25 million data records, has found a new job.

BTW, Gray left HMRC with a £2.3M pension and a payoff of £400K.

Anyhoo he is now working for Praesta, helping their executives "develop their potential".

Now, as we know, Gray was initially farmed out to the Cabinet Orifice (senior members of HMRC are never left out in the cold, that simply wouldn't be very nice would it?).

Having left the Cabinet Orifice, he seemingly was still needing to earn a few pennies to keep the wolves from the door.

Luckily Praesta offered him a job.

Oh, one thing that I should mention, Praesta has £650K worth of contracts with the Government.

It warms the cockles of my heart to see HMRC and the government look after its ex employees so well. I assume that the 25,000 staff who have been/will be fired will also be treated as well?

HMRC: rewarding failure, punishing enterprise!

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Thursday 28 August 2008


UnprotectedThose running HMRC claim that HMRC is a professional organisation, that treats its staff and "customers" (that's the taxpayers to you and I) professionally.

I'm all for that!

The trouble is that the many communications I have had from members of staff and taxpayers, and many stories in the media, would indicate otherwise.

Therefore I am more than a "little concerned" to see that HMRC inspectors will be soon acquiring new new powers to investigate and fine taxpayers, without any safeguards for individuals or businesses.

How can this be?

How can powers be granted, without corresponding checks and balances normally associated with a professional organisation?

Simple, there will be safeguards but not for at least four months after the powers have been granted.

HMRC will acquire powers in 2009 to enter business premises and private homes used for business. For errors that are "careless, but non-deliberate", penalties of up to 30% of an unpaid tax bill can be levied. Fines worth 70% of the final tax bill could be imposed, should officials believe the taxpayer deliberately ignored the need to make a payment. Deliberate concealment could trigger fines worth 100% of the final tax bill.

These new powers will come into effect on April 1 2009.

Tax officers will gain powers to inspect and remove information and documents, while the Treasury will limit the amount taxpayers can reclaim in wrongly paid tax from six to four years. Income tax, capital gains tax, VAT and stamp duty tax will be among payments covered by the new regime. Fines can be imposed from March 2009 on tax bills calculated from March 2008.

The charter to protect taxpayers from "over-zealous" inspectors is not even due to complete its consultation phase until at least July 2009.

Publication and distribution of the charter is unlikely until late 2009 or 2010.

This is not just barmy, it's like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Others would seem to agree.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants wants the new powers delayed until 2010, when the charter is sent to all taxpayers.

Roy Maugham, a partner at accountants UHY Hacker Young, said:

"These are hugely draconian proposals that would allow the Treasury to unjustly enrich itself at the expense of individual taxpayers.

The banks have been criticised for their unfair charges, but if the banks shouldn't operate in this way, why should HMRC?

Permitting HMRC to issue daily fines without authorisation from the general or special commissioners would remove a vital legal protection for taxpayers against the arbitrary use of power.

Regardless of whether taxpayers could appeal, the balance is shifted firmly in HMRC's favour, and would inevitably result in greater use of daily fines

Unfortunately this is entirely in keeping with the Brown ethos of command and control, he despises the individual (both taxpayer and those who work for HMRC) and believes that the state is supreme.

The government and those running HMRC cannot be trusted, as taxpayers and staff can readily attest to.

You should not be fucked without the protection of a condom (the charter is the taxpayers' condom)!

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Taking The Piss II

Taking The Piss II
Yesterday's article about HMRC "management" issuing an edict to their hapless staff instructing them to drink less, so that they would not have to visit the toilet so often, brought forward a number of interesting comments.

One in particular sums up the "quality" of HMRC "management", and spells doom for this organ of the state.

In accordance with the edict on drinking less, and reducing toilet breaks, HMRC "management" have introduced a new quality control procedure.

Can you guess what this is?

Yes, that's right, staff have to fill in a spreadsheet whenever they go to the toilet.

It is clear that this organisation will fall apart in less than year, as no adult in their right mind could/would/should accept being treated like a four year old and bullied in this manner.

To my view the only clear course of action for the staff is to go public with every single absurd "management" instruction they receive, and name and shame all "managers" who bully/harass them.

This failed organisation needs to be torn down and rebuilt.

In its present form it remains a monument to browns' arrogance and incompetence.

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Taking The Piss

Taking The Piss
My congratulations to the senior management of HMRC who are proving to the world that they really understand how to "manage" and "motivate" their hapless staff.

You will doubtless be aware that HMRC are currently undergoing something of a "restructuring" exercise at the moment, 15,000 jobs gone and a further 10,000 to go by 2011, as such there are expectations of efficiency and performance improvements.

One would therefore expect that senior management, and the massively overpaid consultants that doubtless have been "guiding" them, would have some splendid efficiency improvement suggestions up their sleeves.

Errmmm...maybe not.....

I am reliably informed that an edict has been issued by "management" (just because you wear a suit and tie, and are paid a lot more than those at the coal face, does not necessarily make you a manager) to staff telling them to reduce the number of toilet breaks they take by drinking less.

I kid you not!

Why are these people allowed to be in charge of other human beings?

I doubt that any of the current management in situ at HMRC could sit the right way on a lavatory.

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Friday 22 August 2008

A Very Bad Step

A Very Bad Step
Much is made by those "in charge" of HMRC, and by Brown and his henchmen, of the restructuring and rationalisation of this mighty organ of the state.

However, those that actually work for it, interact with it and various MP's are not so impressed with the handling of "Smiler" Brown's conglomeration and reorganisation of Customs and Revenue.

Grantham Quentin Davies MP has expressed his disappointment at the response that he has received from the Government to his protests against the closure of Grantham's tax office.

HMRC staff from the office in Castlegate have been told that they will be relocated to Lincoln, or offered jobs in other offices as part of a restructure of the organisation.

The move will begin in Spring next year.

Treasury minister, Jane Kennedy, confirmed to Mr Davies that the plans will go ahead and assured him that the changes would have minimal effect on taxpayers.

As I have said before, many people prefer being able to talk to a friendly helpful member of HMRC face to face; rather then entangle themselves in the morass of the pig's breakfast of the HMRC website, or hang on the phone for hours as they attempt to access an expert at the HMRC call centre.

Mr Davies agrees:

"By far the worst aspect of the plans to close the Grantham tax office would be that taxpayers, individuals and businesses would have to travel to Lincoln to consult with HMRC. 11,000 callers were received in Grantham in 2006-07 and this service must continue.

The chances of honest mistakes in accounting for tax are greatly increased if there is no opportunity for face-to-face meetings between the taxpayer and the Revenue of Customs and Excise.

This would be a very bad step in the interests of both sides

I agree, much like the banks that have shut local branches and fired branch managers (as they don't give a stuff about their customers), this is a retrograde step that is not in the interests of the taxpayer.

Government, especially "Smiler" Brown's administration, does not give a fark about the taxpayer (aside from viewing us as a hapless cow to be milked dry for every penny we have).

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Thursday 21 August 2008

From Bad To Worse - The Sweet Smell of Bullshit

From Bad To Worse - The Sweet Smell of Bullshit
Congratulations to those running HMRC, for proving that they can make a bad situation worse!

It seems that security breaches at HMRC have risen dramatically since the data discs fiasco.

How the fark can that be?

HMRC and its political masters had promised to improve security, after last year's spectacular loss of 25 child benefit records. However, as we all know, the promises of politicians and bureaucrats are worse than worthless.

HMRC have clocked up a stunning ten security breaches a day since October last year, compared to eight per day the previous year.

The losses include physical theft of computers containing information about members of the public, and mobile phones with private numbers stored in them.

Since October 2007 there have been 1,993 incidents. On the assumption that this "stellar" performance continues, there will be more than 2,700 breaches by this October.

That's an increase of 28%!

Well done lads!

Those of you who are a tad worried about this need have no fear, Treasury Minister Jane Kennedy has an excuse:

"This high level of reporting reflects the increased awareness of staff following the child benefit data loss in October 2007."

Read that again, just to make sure that you fully understand what this daft woman just said.

She is implying that before the theft, HMRC staff hadn't got the wit/brains or practical knowledge to be able to recognise when something (eg a pc or mobile phone) had been stolen; or if they did recognise that something had been stolen, they hadn't the wit/brains or common sense to report the theft.

If it looks like bullshit and smells like bullshit, then the chances are it is bullshit!

I would like to hear what the members of staff of HMRC think about her "excuse", and the real reason that security breaches have increased.

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Computer Says No - HMRC Shuts Down Its System

Computer Says No
Those of you attempting to engage with certain parts of HMRC's online systems today will have a few problems.

HMRC will shut down its main online processing systems from 8am today (20th August) for 24 hours, to undertake essential maintenance and upgrade work.

The online mechanism for entering data and filing self assessment tax returns, VAT returns, Corporation Tax and PAYE returns will be unavailable according to a very well hidden page on HMRC's site.

Also shutdown will be the online systems for administering Child Benefits, the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), the EC Sales List (ECSL) and Reverse Charge Sales List (RCSL), Inheritance Tax (IHT) form requests, pension schemes, Stamp taxes and the shared workspace facilities.

Here's a radical thought, how about putting information such as this on the main web page?

Could it be that they don't want too many people to know that their online systems suck?

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Hanging On The Telephone

Hanging On The Telephone
Those of you who enjoy talking to HMRC call centres will doubtless be filled with joy in your hearts to learn that HMRC want to conduct a telephone survey of tax agents and advisers.

Are your hearts filled with joy?


"Tax agents and advisers - will you help us with our telephone survey?

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) considers its relationship with tax agents and advisers to be vitally important.

We want to know more about our agent customers and their specific needs and behaviours. We are therefore investing in a programme of research over the next few months and will be asking some of you, as part of a representative sample of agents, if you would be willing to be involved in this work.

The research will involve a telephone discussion about the experiences you have had with us and how you felt about them. We'll share the findings with you once they're available (probably late 2008). As the research is designed to guide our future improvements we hope that, if approached, as many of you as possible will take the time to help us with this important project.

You represent a significant number of our customers and we value the contribution you make in helping us to deliver our services and design our processes – so
we really do want to know what you think

OK, off the top of my head, here are a few thoughts:

1 "Investing" is Gordon Brown speak for "spending money". Precisely how much is this survey going to cost the taxpayer?

2 Will it be conducted by a professional research agency, or in house amateurs?

3 Will the results really be published in their full and gory detail?

4 Will HMRC actually listen to what people tell them?

5 Publication of results "probably late 2008", why is HMRC unable to give a precise date? Survey results are relatively straightforward to collate and summarise, if they are managed by professionals.

6 Given that HMRC is in turmoil wrt its botched restructuring, and that basic procedures (eg opening letters, repaying overpaid tax etc) are grinding to a halt; is this the best use of HMRC's limited resources?

Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comment box, and make sure that you make your opinion known in this survey (if it ever happens).

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Monday 18 August 2008

Support For Tax Office

SupportHMRC plans to close the tax office at Maltravers House in Yeovil are being opposed by a rather surprising quarter, members of the general public.

HMRC is planning to close a number of offices and relocate them in the regional headquarters in Bristol.

Mark Hoskins Yeovil's secretary for the Public and Commercial Services' Union (PCS) expressed surprise at the support from the public.

He should not be that surprised, local offices mean that local people can speak to real human beings face to face; and hopefully deal with their tax queries at an early stage, before they become too complex and absorb excessive amounts of time and effort to resolve.

HMRC state:

"The overall aim is to deliver a more efficient and effective service to customers, businesses and individuals."

However, much like banks, people prefer to deal with staff face to face rather than via a faceless call centre.

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Friday 15 August 2008

From The Coal Face II

From The Coal Face IIYesterday's article "From The Coal Face" has brought forth some very direct and unflattering comments from employees of HMRC about the "quality" of management in that fine organ of the state, and staff morale in general.

One rather good suggestion was that Gordon "Smiler" Brown should read this site and the comments made. However, until I actually see a pig flying past my office window, I will assume that is unlikely to occur.

There was one very good suggestion that does, I think, have legs:

"My advice to all HMRC colleagues is to download from Intranet the grievance stencil (opens in Word) complete, sign and fire them into management. Don't pull your punches chaps and chapettes...the more grievances you raise the more the powers-that-be will get the message that things will have to change.

If I were a manager receiving a daily deluge of grievances from my staff it would certainly force my hand

Use the system to defeat the system!

Plus, anonymously, air your grievances here in order to ensure that HMRC management is publicly humiliated into taking positive action.

Take action!

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Thursday 14 August 2008

From The Coal Face

From The Coal FaceToday I would like let HMRC staff (let us not forget that they are taxpayers as well) do the talking about the reality of working for HMRC, I would especially like to give prominence to a comment made by an HMRC employee relating to my article "Morale Here is Not High".

The comment "somewhat" undercuts, and neatly shreds, the attempt by "nearly man" Hartnett to present a positive spin about life in HMRC.

I would be very pleased to receive more comments from HMRC staff.

"Morale here is not high and that's because we are in the middle of a huge change programme."

Er, no. Morale is 'not high' (or as we like to refer to it in plain English - low) because the whole merger has been quite astoundingly mishandled. Yes, it was a bad idea from the very beginning (thanks for that, Gordon), but the way that senior management have run this is staggeringly bad. If you could only see some of the details of the Departmental 'hotseat' where us plebs can put our questions to senior management. It's a fascinating exercise in bullet-dodging, fact-dodging and, indeed, answer-dodging. We've watched these two once-proud departments get pissed away all in the name of saving a few shekels. So, yes, you could say that morale is pretty bloody low.

"Our customers don't really write to us anymore or come into our offices and we are changing."

There are thousands upon thousands of unopened letters piling up in a variety of offices all over the country. Hartnett is clearly a buffoon to suggest that people don't write to us. Oh, and the reason that nobody comes into our offices is because most of them are being closed down! Try finding your local Enquiry Centre - it probably isn't there anymore. Instead, it's been centralised miles away from where you can reasonably visit it. If you do manage to make the journey there, they'll just point you in the direction of a telephone on the wall so you can speak to somebody with unsatisfactory training, an unwieldy, usually broken, computer system, and a sheet of obsolete phone numbers.

"It's a difficult world for 83,000 full-time staff to be thrilled with life."

I find that last part to be, frankly, insulting. Few people in this world are 'thrilled' to go into work, you patronising bastard. I don't expect to wake up in the morning and leap out of bed, clapping my hands in anticipation of another glorious day at HMRC. I would, however, like to wake up and not immediately be hit by the sapping realisation that when I get into the office I'm going to have to deal with piss-poor management and inept decision-making as someone in a shiny office in London, trousering a nice fat performance-bonus, tells me that I'm going to have to wait six months for my below-inflation pay rise simply because the Treasury can't get its arse in gear.

So, yes, Mr Hartnett, we're not exactly happy at the moment, and the reason for that is we've seen a succession of useless Chairmen wander through HMRC, each less capable than the last, picking up gongs and cash payouts, and not making a scrap of difference to the festering pile of shite that is HMRC

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Wednesday 13 August 2008



Can anyone tell me where this county (see the letter head above from HMRC) is?

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Peasants' Revolt

Peasants' Revolt
HMRC had better mind its relations with small businesses, according to a report from the Professional Contractors Group (PCG), otherwise it may find something of a peasants' revolt on its hands.

Seemingly, and I can't say that I am surprised, small business owners are so unhappy with the tax system that many may soon refuse to comply with their legal obligations.

PCG has warned that because the tax regime is so complex, uncertain and plagued by "sometimes strange and inconsistent...outcomes", the willingness of taxpayers to adhere to the rules "will begin to evaporate" with "small business taxation in particular...getting close to this dangerous territory".

Pretty strong stuff!

In its 'position paper', the PCG accused the government of becoming "more aggressive" in its attempt to extract the maximum revenue.

I fully agree with that. As I have noted before, Brown and his chums are broke and are desperate to shore up their unwieldy and excessive public expenditure programme by squeezing the taxpayer (that includes those who work for HMRC) dry.

PCG also note, again I agree with this, that ministers have "complicated the system substantially" in order to disguise high tax levels. However, let us be clear, the drive to complicate taxation comes from one man alone.

Can you guess who I am talking about children?

Smiler Brown

Yes, that's right, "Smiler" Brown.

PCG have asked for an independent review of small business taxation to work on new policies to be introduced during the next Parliament. It also wants no significant structural changes made for a "substantial period".

PCG managing director John Brazier said:

"Our new position paper represents a significant contribution to the debate around taxation in the UK.

In it, we identify where the problems are, and some of the solutions; but what we really want to see is an independent review deciding the exact shape of new reforms in a genuinely consultative manner

Errmm...whilst I agree with that as well, they have as much chance of achieving their dream (under the current administration) as hell freezing over!

Still, good luck to them.

To the barricades!

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Monday 11 August 2008

Pissing Money Up The Wall

Pissing Money Up The WallMy sympathy to the paying agent who had an encounter with HMRC recently.

He acts as a paying agent for three principals with a total of 5 staff between. The tax/NI payments are less than £1500 pm, and as such he takes advantage of the option to pay only every 3 months.

The end of period payment for Months 1,2 & 3 in 2008/09 was due on the 5th July, with a deadline for the payment to be in HMRC's bank by the 19th July.

Payment was duly made on the 9th July via the local post office (as a gesture of support to the post office).

The cheque cleared the bank account on the 11th July.

However, on 8th August the agent got a Payment Reminder from HMRC dated 29th July (snail mail is clearly the communications method of choice for HMRC!) informing him that he was late with the payment.

The agent called the number on the letter and got through to a recorded message saying:

"This number is no longer in use. Call XXXX XXXXXX"

Going well so far isn't it?

Using the new number he was finally able to talk to a human being, who was very helpful. The response was clear and informative:

"There was probably a backlog in the dept that sees that the money is in the bank.

I can see that you have paid it.

Just ignore it

As my correspondent ruefully points out:

"What a waste of frigging time and money, both for me and HMRC. And if this is repeated on a wide scale how much of taxpayers' cash is HMRC unnecessarily pi**ing up the wall?"

Would anyone care to estimate how much of our cash is being pissed up against the wall by HMRC?

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Friday 8 August 2008

Qrop Circles

Qrop Circles
Ah the joys of taxation!

A man made system of elaborate rules and regulations designed to challenge the intellects of even the most seasoned of tax advisers and HMRC staff.

Such is the case with Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (Qrops).

International pension adviser Panthera is a tad pissed off with HMRC over its decision to remove Singapore pensions from the list of qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes in May. The company is appealing against the decision, arguing that HMRC failed to understand Singapore legislation fully.

Panthera's managing director, Bethell Codrington, believes that HMRC is not providing clear guidance on Qrops and believes the industry could benefit from a trade body.

He is quoted on MoneyMarketing:

"At the moment, HM Revenue and Customs' guidance all seems very ad hoc and if it really wants to sort out the problem, there should be a major body assigned to manage Qrops."

Aurora International Pension Plan also wonders about HMRC's contradictory approach on Qrops.

"It is often difficult to cross-examine what HMRC is saying about Qrops as it can vary week to week and can be contradictory.

I think that there should be a regulatory body made up of industry representatives who sit between the politicians and advisers and help to promote interchange between the Revenue and the industry

Given that HMRC doesn't seem to understand its own rules, how on earth are the taxpayers mean to understand them?

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Thursday 7 August 2008

Seriously Misleading

Seriously Misleading
HMRC have been accused by the Joint VAT Consultative Committee of producing "seriously misleading" figures on how long it takes a business to register for VAT.

Minutes from a Joint VAT Consultative Committee meeting show that the length of wait for VAT registrations was capped at 60 days when producing calculations for the average length of time.

In other words, in order to meet its target for reducing the time taken to process VAT registrations HMRC has adopted the third world dictator's trick of lying and adjusting "reality".

HMRC remain loftily arrogant, and claim that said it had "in no way tried to mislead anyone" over VAT registration statistics.

An HMRC statement said:

"HMRC has been consistently clear about the basis on which statistics on VAT registration are calculated, including that there have been limitations in the past.

In recent months we have made substantial improvements to the processing of registration applications and this has enhanced the quality of the data and statistics available on VAT registrations

What a load of old bollocks!

These people don't seem to be able to distinguish truth from fiction anymore.

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Customer Care - The HMRC Way

Customer Care - The HMRC WayHMRC claim that they are working in the interests of their "customers" (errmmm I guess that's the taxpayers that they are referring to?), and wish to improve "customer" satisfaction.

The professional bodies in the Working Together E-Group, which regularly meets with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to discuss issues regarding online filing, are taking HMRC at its word and recently polled its members over the future of the online filing system.

The poll found that 82% of members responding wanted free online filing software to continue.

Paul Aplin, member of the E-Group and chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)'s tax faculty, said:

"Eighty-two percent of members responding thought that HMRC should continue to supply free software to unrepresented taxpayers.

This is on the basis that if HMRC want to encourage individuals to file online rather than by paper.

HMRC should continue to supply a free basic e-filing service

The survey also gave members the right to vent their spleens over the "quality" of HMRC's e-filing system.

Can you guess what the result was?

Yes, that's right, a stonking 85% of respondents said that the system was worse or no better than last year.

There's progress for you!

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) said that the survey results indicated HMRC needed to think very carefully before any strategic changes, and also needed to carry out extensive testing before requiring changes to their own and commercial e-filing system software.

All excellent stuff!

There is but one small problem, one small fly in HMRC's oinkment, although HMRC claim that they want to improve the "customer" experience this "improvement" will only be only on their terms.

Specifically the e filing system will not improve, as that would cost money, and HMRC will stop supplying free software even though they want to force the majority of taxpayers to complete returns online.

Apart from those two small points, HMRC most definitely will take on board the findings of the poll and most assuredly will listen to the feedback from their "customers".

Editor's note: The last paragraph to be read with a heavy dose of irony!

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Tuesday 5 August 2008

Morale Here Is Not High

Morale Here Is Not High
Quote of the century from Dave "Nearly Man" Hartnett:

"Morale here is not high and that's because we are in the middle of a huge change programme.

Our customers don't really write to us anymore or come into our offices and we are changing.

It's a difficult world for 83,000 full-time staff to be thrilled with life. But then if you look at our investigators doing offshore work they find it exciting and interesting and they love the thrill of the chase

Source Accountancy Age.

Would any of the 83,000 HMRC staff care to respond to the above?

The comment about customers not writing anymore particularly surprises me, as I gather that there are mountains of unopened letters at various HMRC centres across the UK.

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Monday 4 August 2008

Something For The Weekend?

Something For The Weekend?I watched a rather interesting programme last night about the attempts by various members of the WI to legalise brothels.

One rather amusing fact came to light, when the reporter visited an illegal brothel in Dagenham. The owner is registered for VAT, and HMRC have happily advised her to register the business as a "massage parlour". The owner seemingly has had discussions with HMRC over their advice, and is adamant that the business should be registered as a brothel; ie HMRC know full well what is going on there.

Here is the "small issue", brothels are illegal (as absurd as that is). This means that HMRC, by knowingly collecting tax/VAT from a brothel, are knowingly receiving money from a criminal enterprise.

Errrmmmm...aren't their laws against that sort of thing?

Does this not mean that HMRC are in breach of the laws relating to the receipt of money from criminal activities and anti money laundering laws?

How is it that HMRC is allowed to tax and receive money from "criminals"?

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"

Friday 1 August 2008

The Monster of a Project

The Monster of a ProjectHMRC's plans to save £11.5BN by transforming itself into a model of public sector efficiency have taken a few knocks, both from within and without; not least because they do not seem to be working.

Francesca Lagerberg, partner at Grant Thornton, described HMRC's transformation programme as a 'monster' of a project and said its managers need breathing space to make the changes.

"The HMRC has already begun the long process of bringing themselves into the modern age.

It's a bit like turning round a tanker. It takes time

Fair comment.

However, do those in charge of HMRC have the brains to realise that their line managers may need to some breathing space to bed things down?

With regards to tankers, we all remember the Torrey Canyon.

There are many HMRC employees who visit this site. My question to you is this, are the transformation plans working?

Tax does have to be taxing.

HMRC Is Shite (, also available via the domain, is brought to you by "The Living Brand"