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, 10 February 2011

Breaking Point

HMRC came in for something of a pasting during a Commons Treasury select committee meeting this week.

The underlying problem, according to various tax professionals attending the committee, is that cuts in HMRC staffing levels are causing time to be wasted by tax advisers and their clients (this is the "Big Society" in action, whereby the pain from the cuts is spread around a bit).

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the ACCA, told the committee that HMRC's contention that there had been no reduction in quality of customer service was "nonsense", and that there was a perception that HMRC staff are not fully trained and "are not tax people".

Paul Aplin, chairman of the Tax Faculty Technical Committee at the ICAEW, was quoted by Accountancy Age:

"The experience with the HMRC five or six years ago is completely different to now.

To get a relatively simple thing done, like changing a tax code, would have taken a phone call. Now it can take months. In that period, I have to waste HMRC's time and my clients grow frustrated

Aplin went on to warn that the situation will actually get worse, as further cuts are implemented, and that people's trust in the tax system is being undermined.

Aplin said that his firm regularly waits two to three months for a reply from HMRC to a letter, which more often than not has been lost by HMRC.


"..I don't think it [HMRC] is broken but I think it is stretched almost to breaking point."

HMRC, recognise there is a problem, a spokesman said:

"We are determined to improve those areas of our business that are currently not delivering the quality of service to which we aspire."

The question is, are the right people in positions of authority within HMRC in order to be able to drive through an improvement in service levels/quality etc?

Are the politicians capable of appointing the right people to ExComm?

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. That guy Alpin hit the nail on the head.

    Chaotic re-organisation of both departments into one from 2005 is still ongoing. It hasnt resloved itself after six years. The thing is managers above SO Level dont want to hear about it. Even though they earn hefty salaries they simply dont want to know about the mess.
    Teamwork has shrunk, Toyota style working practices are in. Communication is broken. Junior managers spend their day watching people at the lowest grade on the lowest pay as if they are not to be trusted. Its like they lost the discs, give them cupboards to clean.
    The tension builds up and then its into the meeting room for a row and why your objecting to the system. Union reps are flat out, people phone in sick.
    From a Customs and Excise background where it was once the opposite of the above its now-"why me, why dont you do it" "or so and so is off sick you can do his or her work also" "I want to see stats not how helpful you were to Mrs Jones".
    People who wanted to help the taxpayer get frustrated and leave.
    A f****n mess!

  2. Surely the Treasury should already know all this?

    After all didn't they set HMRC's budget?

    What did they expect?

  3. Training - hahaha - when I was trained to be a "Tax Adviser" I got nine weeks training. Our very stressed trainers told us that it would previously have taken TWO YEARS of on-the-job training before an adviser was deemed to be competent. It was the imports from the commercial call-centres who duped the senior management who convinced the ministers that you can train people this way. Incompetent staff? Damn right, but it's MONUMENTAL incompetence further up the tree that is responsible.

  4. like a certain dame said in her statement today to staff the survey of staff is something to celebrate. whats all the fuss about she has a plan.

  5. yup...poor sods plucked off the streets with the promise of a good job, reading from prepared scripts that dont allow for lateral thinking if a less-than-common problem rears its head. Most call centre staff dont stay long and never get the REAL experience that was neccesary for dealing with the public's diverse issues.
    We all want to do a good job but.......

  6. Chas Roy-Chowdhury told the committee that the director of HMRC had had a meeting with him, (I assume he was referring to Dave Hartnett). He had been told by him, that staff are going to be encouraged to think about the work they are doing and for people not to be so process driven!!!!

    ***** It's them that won't allow anyone to think, or do anything but follow 'standard work instructions' and have forced all the staff to be processors. How out of touch can you possibly be?

  7. Give an infinite number of monkeys the corresponding infinite number of typewriters and they would probably compose the works of Shakespeare - cue the Carlsberg advert !!

    Give any ExCom member the logical idea that cutting staff will NOT make things better results in all three of the "brass" variety coming into being simultainiously !!

  8. I agree with Alpin. I used to think my job was to help people get things right - I had a good relationship with my agents who knew my name and could ring me if they had a problem, ditto my taxpayers & my employers. I had good training that enabled me to do my job and reasonably good computer systems to do them. Now I am a robotic drone, ecpected to follow an FAQ sheet and if i do spot a problem to ignore it unless it is covered by the said sheet. And if I disobey orders and try to help the taxpayer I could be hauled up for conduct and discipline for failing to follow the masterplan laid out. HMRC is a disaster caused by Varney and his cronies and the power hungry idiots that followed after them - the idea of service is belittled and devalued and they pay huge bonuses to themselves for the failure they have created. Its soul destroying for those who now work in these massive tax factories and it is a nightmare for the poor public trying to make sense of it. How Strathie still has a job is beyond my comprehension.