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.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Breaking Point

AccountingWeb argues, quite rightly, that HMRC is close to breaking point.

The question is do we pump more resources in to the current moribund and decaying structure, or do we let it break (as one comment states) and start again?

My view, for what it is worth, is that tax should most certainly be simplified (with a heavy emphasis on shifting revenues from income/cgt etc to VAT).

As to what to do about the structure of HMRC, that requires the appointment at the very least of good quality managers who really can manage change whilst at the same time motivating staff.

Should HMRC be demerged, and the old CE and IR departments be recreated?

Views from people actually working in HMRC would be very welcome.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. If the online self-assessment system is anything to go by then HMRC is already broken. If you make an amendment to your return once it has been submitted it does not let you log back in and this problem has existed since early March 2010. I checked again prior to posting this and it is still not working.

  2. yes yes, the way it was before. HMCE and IR.

  3. Something's got to be done but reading the new secretary's message on intranet today it doesn't seem like the new coalition is going to do anything differemt just the old "we know you have had things tough" etc nothing about what they want to do to change things. The emergency budget and the prospect of tax codes being altered again after P14 details are inputted it seems there is just more and more work coming our way with no staff to sort it.

    The Contact Centres and Enquiry Centres are at breaking point - some Enquiry Centres have no appointments for three weeks my Enquiry Centre has an eight day full diary and one enquiry centre which went to a shorter week has a five week wait and no one knows what to do about it as they have no money to spend the excom used Purdah as an excuse for not making an comments on the situation.

  4. I'd say its broken already.

    I've written them them 4 times in the last 6 months (re a tax credit problem), and had the same letter back every time even though the reply has nothing to do with the questions on the last 3 times !

    How is anyone supposed to resolve anything like this ?

  5. They are not going to listen, the new government IT adviser thinks ...

    "Lane Fox used the example of the tax return service, which she says is almost 100 per cent digital now, as a model for how other key services could be delivered more efficiently and cheaply."

    Trevor Scott

  6. "My view, for what it is worth, is that tax should most certainly be simplified (with a heavy emphasis on shifting revenues from income/cgt etc to VAT)."

    Terrible whiff of the IoD to this statement.

    It's quite clear that a) taxes on incomes are the least unfair form of taxation, and b) taxes on expenditure disproportionally hit those towards the bottom of the income scale, who will still have to buy a lot of things which are not zero-rated. To the wealthy, a small-to-medium increase in VAT would be little more than petty cash.

    You seem to be using the word 'simplified' as a euphemism for "cut for the well off", in the same way that the outgone government and its predecessors used the word 'reform' as a synonym for 'cut and/or privatise'.

  7. 'close to breaking point'. I keep thinking my employer has reached their 'nadir,' only to find it can get even worse. IMHO it has nothing to do with the merger between Inland Revenue & Customs & Excise.
    The two things that made it not fit for purpose are lean & centralisation.

  8. Steve: This lean for you, staff have to leave their common sense at the door on the way in. They can only follow set procedures 'one size fits all' designed for Toyota car parts in the 1970's. I wish I could help you, along with thousands of my colleagues, but we have one hand tied behind our back and both feet tied together & are not allowed to use the telephone, sorry. :(

  9. I realise its not the staff's fault (I read enough on here to fully appreciated the problems you've all got).
    But how is anyone ever going to get these problems sorted without giving in to HMRC ? (or is that the point?)

    It the only way to go the either the AO or the ombudsman?

  10. I know what you mean Steve, a friend of mine told me this week he had thrown in the towel with regards to 1) getting himself removed from self-assessment (he hasn't met the criteria for years) and 2) getting the £3000 back HMRC owe him. I cannot go into his records, or get involved in any way (sacking offence if I get caught) I just insisted he didn't give up and hopefully gave him advice that might work.
    It is very difficult when HMRC staff don't even know who does what in the department anymore, or how to contact them. (all the directories, internal & external are out of date for phone numbers etc.

  11. Re above,

    "getting the £3000 back HMRC owe him."

    Hes more chance of winning the lottery. They owed me (a former employee) a three figure sum for work that I did over several years, and my doctor advised me to let it go the effect it had on my health trying to recoup this. The meetings and phonecalls went nowhere.
    Maybe I wasnt tough enough but theyre a dangerous mob who will put all effort into making sure they dont repay you a penny.

  12. Does anyone know if Self Assessment saved any money, allowing of course for the extra costs to taxpayers of more accountants' fees and even taking out insurance against the cost of defending a HMRC enquiry?

    If it did not, why the **** did we introduce it? The previous system could have been adjusted rather than replaced.