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, 8 April 2009

Tax Refund Delays

I received an email from a tax professional yesterday, who works in a firm of accountants.

He advised me that his firm were having great difficulty in obtaining refunds for clients who have overpaid tax. These refunds would normally be made automatically, following the submission of the tax return.

However, this year the firm is having to chase HMRC to pay up.

In a substantial number of cases the excuse is that the refund has been chosen for a "random security check", and cannot be repaid until this has been completed.

My correspondent advises me that it the firm's understanding that there is a backlog of repayments awaiting these "security checks".

All very well maybe, but in the meantime the government sits on taxpayers' money (and now pays no interest, of course); some of these taxpayers are in severe cashflow difficulties.

How widespread is this problem?

Is anyone else having similar problems?

Tax does have to be taxing.

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


  1. Yes, we are having similar problems with repayments.

    We have had cases where the repayment actually shows as "cheque issued" online, but gets stopped for up to a month for security cheques.

  2. I would second Anon above. Anecodotal evidence suggests that the security check ruse is being commonly deployed. It is, of course, combined with the classic wheeze of the poor sod at the call centre being instructed that the Revenue cannot divulge any more details "because of security".

    The whole matter is made all the more galling because the very notion of a security check is entirely lacking in credibility when it comes from an organisation that cannot only lose its computer disks but must, by now, have comfortably lost well over £1BN of our money in handing out tax credits to fraudsters.

    I wonder whether the Revenue can be sued using the moneyclaimonline facility ? If so, it should prove that statutory interest and costs could then be claimed as well as the actual refund.

  3. All instances of unreasonable delay to repayments should immediately be referred to the tax payer's local MP. It will get the case moving again, plus you can look forward to a grovelling apology from HMRC if they are to blame.

  4. Security checks are only one curent ploy being pursued. Another is to label the agent as an HVRA (High Volume Refund Agent) by the nature of the percentage of refunds currently being processed by them.

    Some HMRC computer came up with an average expected tax yield and refund percentage and anyone who comes in above this average will be looked at.

    The result is a doubling of the number of enquiries opened to 'prove' we are up to no good. Despite several polite requests for details, names of those clients we represent who are seen as a risk etc, we have heard nothing.

    We have, however, been told that if we change an HMRC determined number of our clients returns, to increase tax and decrease refunds, we will feel less pain in the future.

    Thank goodness for that!

  5. You lot crack me up with your conspiracy theories. We're talking about government here. Was it Bernard Ingham who said "cock-up before conspiracy"?

    "Ruse"? "Ploy"? You really think they've introduced additional security checks in order to hold on to a few thousand quid for an extra couple of weeks? Think it through, guys. Can you imagine the political fall-out if it emerged that they were doing it for that reason? And all for effectively a few quid in interest! Bear in mind that at the moment £1000 for a week is worth about 50p. I'd be surprised if the cost of implementing the security check "ploy" would be greater than any benefit to the Treasury from delaying repayments. Weighing the potential fall-out from doing anything so cynical against the financial benefit there's no way they'd try it.

    No, what's much more likely is that they've brought in extra security checks as part of the changes that have been required following the data loss (cock-up) and the delays are being caused by teething troubles with implementing the procedures (i.e. another cock-up).

    Of course, teething troubles aren't exactly desirable, but unfortunately they just happen in any organisation. Sure, highlight problems and hold people accountable where necessary. That's what democracy is about, but it's not quite at the stage of eroding the very fabric of society yet. Always with the jackboots on this site. (Now ID cards and illegal wars, on the other hand...)

  6. Being the poor sod at the call centre, this whole situation is a nightmare, i'm completely sick of being abused from morning till night over things we have no responsibility nor reasonable explanation for. I've recently seen repayments created at start of January that are yet to be released. its disgusting.

  7. Anom re "Being the poor sod at the call centre, this whole situation is a nightmare, i'm completely sick of being abused from morning till night over things we have no responsibility nor reasonable explanation for. I've recently seen repayments created at start of January that are yet to be released. its disgusting."

    Do you know why they are being created in Jan yet not released?

    It doesn't seem to make much sense?

  8. Ken,
    It makes no sense, all we're told is that there is a specific team working through the repayments strictly in date order and that there are no timescales.
    As staff we're treat with such dis-respect by higher management that its frightening. All we do is apologise for errors all day long, I only stay in the job as it fits in with my child.
    I would love for someone to come into HMRC CC's undercover and show it as it really is. The general public would be horrified.

  9. My only comment here is systemic. The more HMRC delay and the more HMRC fail to update the online system with accurate status, the more agents and taxpayers will continue to telephone / write to HMRC further clogging up the system.

    What is needed now is the online system to display accurate status messages including expected delays to taxpayers/agents and encourage us NOT to contact HMRC so that HMRC have a chance to clear the backlog.

    However, if any sign of the backlog reduces I suspect HMRC will start to reduce the available resources they shift from one department to another.

    So, perhaps better to simply remove all telephone numbers and move these call centre staff to processing papers and online submissions and bring everything back up to date.

    I wonder...

  10. Matthew, it wont happen even though its been suggested many many times before.... the reason it wont happen is simple, working in the CC we're not classed as PROPER CIVIL SERVANTS, we are all thought of as un-educated morons who cant get a real job (and this is sadly how we are seen by our colleagues within other HMRC offices) and due to this thinking we are not trusted with anything that is not basic. Sad but true, so while its not busy at the moment and we're sitting upto 5-10 minutes between calls chatting, we could be doing processing work!!!!

  11. I have had the situation described above where the refund is approved but has not been issued for no good reason. I was told on the phone that the only way of them finding out what is going on is to send an email to the relevant tax office which would not be answered for 10 working days, of which 7 have now expired.

    10 working days?? If I ran my business like that we would go bust. When I put this to the adviser the response was "well we are not a business, are we?" Nice to know they view themselves as helpful public servants, isn't it...

  12. When I put this to the adviser the response was "well we are not a business, are we?" Nice to know they view themselves as helpful public servants, isn't it...

    I have to stand up for the advisor on this point, as CC advisors there is nothing we can do to speed this up, we dont do the security checks and have no way of contacting the team doing them, we email the main office who then chase it up (alledgely).

    I think you probably caught an Advisor after a full 8-10 hours of abuse that we get most days, its a rotten job and is only getting worse.I'm a very experienced PAYE / SA advisor and in this time of delayed repaymts, postal backlogs, etc etc what are they doing with my knowledge..... thats right..... i'm on tax credits from next week.!!!!!

  13. why car,NT the H.M.R.C have a wheres my refund like they have in the USA people there fill in there tax return send them off if they haven't got there refund within a week or two they can simply log on to there website click on where my refund and then it will says -being processed,sent,security checks etc why car,NT we do that then people would not be phoning up giving them abuse because there shop etc is about to go out of business as there refund has been delayed..
    normaly how long does the security cheaks take any1.............

  14. This just happened to me and I am cobsmacked!
    I received a Tax refund of £2500 which to me is a lot. I was told it would be paid shortly so I waited. Nothing arrived and no more letters or anything. I contacted HMRC (25mins waiting for a human) and was told "The money was paid weeks ago". I checked with my bank and they said nothing has arrived from HMRC. I called them again (another 25 mins waiting) and was told "Oh yeah, the previous advisor made a mistake you refund was recalled for a security check. Why, what, how, when etc? The advisor said she couldn't tell me anything else. Totally ridiculous that they don't even have the courtesy to tell you in writing. They sent me something saying here some money then simply didn't pay it and then when I rang to say what happened they say they can't tell you.
    I have written to my local MP as complaining at this level is the only likely action to get something done.
    Why on Earth would you need extra security checks for the HMRC surely if something is due it is due?

  15. Hi,i filled in my tax refund forms with a tax advisor at a tax office on the 1th of september,i was told it will be sorted by the 13th of november.....i called them on the 13th and it still hadn't been processed....i then called them on the following saturday and the man on the end of of the phone said "yes it has been processed and i will issue ur payment now but it could take up to 14 days unless it is subject to a random security check"......i called again 5 days later just to see if it had actually been processed and a payment but sent out only to be told "no u wont recieve a payment until the 11th of november because EVERY claim has to go through a security check" so first i was told it will be sorted by the 13th of october only for them to then say a payment hadn't been sent out and it could take up to 14 days then to be told i have to wait until the 11th of november for security checks to be completed,
    this is really unfair!!!
    why arn't we just told from the start what is happening rather than being given information just to keep us happy!!! we are now having to suffer because of the tax office's cock ups in the past...when u have no money and are struggling to pay bills and buy food you shouldn't be given false hope, how do we do something about this....protest??????

  16. Completely Agree!!

    It's not almost May and I haven't had a penny, them cunts are just making some right interest off the thousands they owe me, and what's worst is they take 30 minutes to pick up the phone, biggest fucking scam going. The cunt said he would call back in 2 - 3 weeks, 2 — 3 FUCKING WEEKS!!!!?????? USELESS CUNTS

  17. Same here... But mines was strange

    Filled SA and got repayment , expected within 10 working days per usual .. Nothing comes calls up Hmrc and the automated system tells me it will take upto 4 weeks for repayments.. 15 mins later i gets the advisor who hits me with this Security check and it will be dealt within 2 weeeks ... Lmao ... I reckon i could break into and out off HMP Belmarsh in less a time.

  18. I was told last year the security check would only take two weeks and it actually took three months, if the return has been processed how can it take three months to go through a '' security check '', and the beauty of it is I'm going through the same bullshit this year, been waiting 6 weeks so far!!! It's different if you owe those robbing bastards any money!!

  19. I've been given the same run around bullshit excuse. I did my sa online when I was first issued my login details and got told I was entitled to certain amount.. Happy days!! after weeks of waiting I got a letter in post saying my repayments been issued on 13th June and be in my bank 10-14 working days.. 14 working days later no repayment. I emailed the appropriate link on the sa website asking where my cash was and got the bullshit excuse were doing further security checks. why must they do further security checks.. I am who I say I am I live where I say I live my ni number correspondes with my utr so what's the fucking hold up? Hmrc HER MAJESTY'S ROBBING CUNTS!!

  20. I have been waiting for a refund of £700 since January 2012. So it's coming up to 7 months now - it's an absolute joke.

    After ringing their 0845 number for 2 months, I decided to pass the job over to my accountant - he didn't have much luck either so I just decided to wait for it.

    Anyway, when it hit the 6 month mark, I rang up and was spun the same old "wait another 4 weeks" line. Eventually, I got a letter saying that the repayment was being processed and will be made within 4 weeks.

    5 weeks later, still nothing - I've just written a letter of complaint to HMRC as I'm running out of options.

    The tax return in question was for my first year as self employed - for all they know, I could be facing serious cash flow issues (I'm not, but they don't know that). It sounds fairly logical to me that HMRC should be doing their best to pay out refunds because not only is it the morally right thing to do, but it would put more money into the business so that it can be invested with a view to paying more tax next year.

    The 0845 number is the thing that frustrates me most - they take so long to answer and the staff are so depressed and don't really have a clue. Not one of them has told me the reason for this delay.

    The Government and HMRC are both pulling in completely different directions. David Cameron wants us to get out there, do business and employ people, but HMRC are holding onto money that would be used to do that.

    Anyway, I'm glad I'm not the only one facing the problem - but it's a problem that none of us should be having.

  21. Hi interesting forum, I too find myself in the same dilemma. Although through entirely my own fault I have been late in filling in the past three years returns some of u guys may appreciate the fact in some round about way I am playing them at their own game but as we all no there are consequences Fines that's right just shy of 1000 smackers unbeknown to myself I was being charged at 10 a day since may 1st this year for late 2010/11 I was sent mail regarding the fines but being a shoplifting joiner I work away months on end and rarely return home so anyways I'm waffling 3 returns were submitted together for an amount just under 5000 1st July 5 weeks ago same scenario security checks so where do I stand in trying to retrieve this money that's the point to all this and will I see it before the month is out been told a decision will be made before the 24th of August hope so cause I'm banking on the money a little now u no wot mean cheers milky

  22. I'm having the same problem, 6 months now! Everyone's complaining about the premium number, google 'say no to 0870' and you can get alternative, non-premium options

  23. my partner has had the same problem after continual phoning and talking to his accountant the HMRC wrote to him saying there was UNUSUAL ACTIVITY SO HE WOULD HAVE TO HAVE A NEW UTR NUMBER and then he would get monies owed to us. after speaking to a person last week who assured him that they were releasing it that very same day and a week later we have phoned up and guess what its now going through ANOTHER SECURITY CHECK... WTF..the big day is oct 16 im not holding my breath

  24. My partner put in his SA onlinetax return for 11/12 april 2012 and we are now in febuary and he has still not recieved it everytime we ring we get toldthe money will be in our account by such and such date but come that day there is no money we ring up again and get told another date a week away, every week this is different, when we threatten to complain we get toldif we do that they willinvestagate him further, no problem as this is the first time he has done his repayment in 14 years of being self employed he has never claimed a repayment yet the first year he does its taken 10 months and we are still no clearer as to where we stand. We are parents to 5 children and work hard and pay our taxes yet if we were late im sure they'd have the bailiffs round quick enough to get any tax owed #makesmesooooooangry

  25. Filed online request for repayment on 09/04/2014 still waiting rung to be told there is no notes so has not been looked at yet wait another 4 weeks?? I'm desperate for the money but no help given!

  26. Filed my return on the 29th July and just keep getting told it's with security department and there is no number for them. It's an absolute disgrace if you ask me

  27. Waiting for a password 19 days now 46 mins SPENT on the phone literally as the wage stealing bastards have another coffee then when they do answer they cut you off, it is about time somebody took these government departments to task and stopped them wasting money for the country and also the individuals whom have the unfortunate task of dealing with them. I would like these individuals to do compulsory work placement in the real world then they can appreciate the foreign concept of working for a living yours sincerely a normal working for a living individual

  28. you need to have a look at ANY subject and the previous postings......
    the HMRC is a facking disgrace.
    take an hour to confirm what I'm saying then get hold of your local politicians and take action because you're wasting your time even trying to talk to these idiots!!!

  29. 25.06.2019,PAYE SA was submitted on the 7th of April and the monies show "repayment pending" on the on-line account, So fucking pissed off, I have just read all the previous complaints and I am exactly the same , wait for half an hour on the phone and when you get a clueless they can't tell you anything. I got a date of the 21st of May,(been and gone), another date of (6th of June), been and gone, but what makes it worse when you call and ask for a reason these dates have expired, I'm now being told they can't give me a date. No security check deparment details are disclosed anywhere, It is a completely secretive operation. There has to be something illegal about that. Here is an unthikable senario" what happens if there is someone within the security check team at the fiddle" how the fuck would He/She ever be caught, these bastards are invisible. I've been ten weeks now, GET YOUR FUCKING FINGER OUT HMRC AND GIVE ME MY MONEY

  30. Im afraid the right idea is the most simple. NEVER GIVE A SINGLE PENNY TO THE HAIRY GOAT LEGGED OLD SLAGS ROBBING CUNTS!
    All the bullshit and drama can be avoided. I am never ever paying these fuckwits again.