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.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Our Man In Washington

Dave Hartnett
Despite the comments on this site, and the results of staff surveys, not everyone in HMRC loathes their job.

It is refreshing to see that Dave Hartnett is like a veritable "pig in shit" when it comes to his role of "opening up" countries to HMRC inspections, and acting as the UK's envoy in Washington next week at a gathering of tax commissioners.

He is quoted in Accountancy Age:

"Nations are now working together to deal with this issue.

What [HMRC] would really like to do is open up Switzerland.

The UK and many other governments are determined to crush tax evasion through offshore accounts and I think that's what will happen. Otherwise he may find himself posted to places that are less salubrious than Washington.

There are some countries who are resistant.

One or two tax havens would like to be back on an OECD blacklist so they can hoover up money from other people who still want to hide it

Hartnett doesn't like countries who believe in banking and tax secrecy, adding:

"They believe that a country like the UK should have a major amnesty – not just a disclosure regime – where we forgive [unpaid] taxes and use that to make disclosures, which I don't think the UK is going to do."

Such ambition!

He bestrides the world of tax, like a veritable colossus!

Let us trust that he has not promised his bankrupt masters in Downing Street more than he (and HMRC) can actually/realistically deliver in his/their lifetimes.

Hubris is such an unforgiving mistress!

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

What is TAXWISE?

TAXWISE 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 Taxwise

Tax Investigation for Dummies, by Nick Morgan, provides a good and easy to read guide for anyone caught up in an HMRC tax investigation. A must read for any Self Assessment taxpayer.

Click the link to read about: Tax Investigation for Dummies

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


  1. Thats why people are being made redundant to pay Dave`s expenses.

    I hope you feel proud of yourself ...

  2. Poor old never has been Dave and his invisible army marching off to Europe to cleanse it off the no good tax evaders.
    Don Quixote or a Greek tragedy comes to mind.

  3. Don Quixote? I'll throw in Captain Mainwearing. Joke man running a joke organisation - no disrespect to staff who are generally lions but they are led by donkeys. Scrap the Board save several million on salaries and expenses and I tell you what performance would improve.
    Can anyone at HMRC tell me why the heck Hartnett needs to meet "customers"(formerly known as tax payers, soon to me known as Hartnett's pals) at swanky restaurants? What is the total square meterage of meeting rooms within HMRC? What are they for?

    Why no off-shore tax evasion prosecutions? Surely that's the way to encourage compliance? Any in pipeline?

  4. String the tax evaders/avoiders up!!

  5. Dave and his army - off on the great globetrotting tax crusade... and no expense spared! Meantime back on planet reality, as a humble visiting officer from the LVO going about his business of actually trying to collect taxes dare to claim more than 25p a mile without authority and it's sharp intakes of breath all round and treated as a serious C&D offence.

  6. Comment above about 25p is a good one.
    Colleague of mine was interrogated about why he claimed £6.00 on a taxi to get to a team meeting held in an area not exactly well serviced by public transport. His mangers nose was nearly touching the screen trolling through the travel claim records to pin him down.
    He agreed to pay the 6 quid back but he then asked, under the freedom of information act and the interests of public spending how much HMRC mangers have spent on flights, taxis to and from airports, hotels etc.
    Red faces ensued and needless to say hes still waiting on a formal reply. :)

  7. I doubt he will get a reply.

    I have contacted the cabinet office and Sir Gus O'Donnell regarding the recent capability report and here we are nearly two weeks later and no reply from either.

  8. Dear correspondent @ 23.21

    What can you possibly be thinking of, going out doing some visits? Honestly!!

    Don't you know that that sort of thing is frowned on these days? Now you must spend ten or twelve hours a day in the office filling in risk assessment forms,all the other mindless spreadsheets, reading emails about lost printer cartridges, old cartons of milk in the fridge, and above all, clocking up lots of lovely flexi time.

    No, going out doing visits and collecting tax is a thing of the past and you really must not do any more of it.

  9. The last comment is too true sadly - I suspect the problem is that the managerial attitude in the ex IR managers is due to the cult of "presenteeism " - that if you are in the office they can see you - even if you are not doing anything productive - but if you are out on trader visits they cannot control you so they try to stop you actually going out. As an ex C and E person I find this attitude very strange, as identifying misdeclared tax is surely what we are employed to do and is the only way the Exchequer is going to get some of its missing tax. If the Public Accounts Committee knew about it I am sure they would not be pleased.

  10. "I suspect the problem is that the managerial attitude in the ex IR managers is due to the cult of "presenteeism ""

    I suspect it has more to do with budget cut backs and how expenses appear in the accounts.

  11. I suspect also that it is because the management is bleedin' incompetent and is struggling to try to justify its existence. So the answer is to make up all sorts of utterly pointless spreadsheets and stats/performance league tables to make themselves appear important.

  12. Well, as a member of HMRCs floundering Field Farce ( sorry, Field Force ) I was astonished to be told that, due to cut-backs in budgets, myself and twenty of my colleagues were forbidden from making calls for an astonishing 6 weeks recently. We had absolutely NOTHING to do instead. So we did nothing for 6 weeks. Managers aware of this, staff furious. You couldn't make it up.......

  13. As an ex HMRC bod of too many years I can must state the following

    The public would not believe quite how incompetent and ineffective the whole organisation has become in recent years.

    The tax collector for example is more interested in meetings about meetings and naval gazing - and going home at 4pm.

    Collecting all the tax that is there to be collected is literally bottom of the collectors priorities.

    The simple idea of working after 4pm to catch debtors when they are in never did catch on!

    Instead knocking on a few empty doors - then clocking off, and going home mid afternoon.

    Theres so much wrong and ineffective with such an important organisation that if the public knew they would be furious.

    Fundamentally the management is corporately complacent.

    Was once proud - but became genuinely embarrassed. I am so, so glad I left.