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, 27 July 2011


The BBC reports that Emily Barrass, a call centre adviser at tax offices in Dundee, stole a woman's identity and invented four children in order to fraudulently claim £90K.

Barrass began claiming a stranger's benefits after moving into her former home in Arbroath.

Barrass added two children to Susan Lindsay's claim and two to another woman's claim before she was caught.

Barrass pleaded guilty to the charges and was jailed for two years.

Miss Lindsay, who was unknown to Barrass, had a live claim for tax credits which were being paid into her bank account. She advised HMRC that she was emigrating to the US, but payments continued to be made.

Barrass amended Miss Lindsay's file to claim a higher rate of child tax credit, and changed her bank details twice.

She also updated the telephone contact history on Miss Lindsay's file to indicate that she had processed a call from her and removed the bank account details.

Over a three-year period, she updated the account to claim Miss Lindsay had informed her of two children being born, increasing the payment amounts.

Suspicions were raised in 2009, and an investigation was launched.

In 2009, Barrass had also accessed the tax credit account of the former partner of a relative and amended the account to make payments into Susan Lindsay's Post Office account.

Two more fictional children were added to this claim.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. To start the ball rolling:-

    How did a call centre operator gain access to a customers details to such an extent they could pay money into their own account?
    Obviously getting hold of mail belonging to the previous occupant of her house?
    How did she amend details of her bank twice and undertake the rest of this despicable tale?
    I would hazard a guess that the sytem allowed just that to happen, it is amazing that she was caught out.
    Tip of the iceberg? You bet!
    The professionals don't get caught and there is no way of knowing how much is haemorraging away into the tax gap.

  2. Unfit for purpose, bereft of moral compass, disengaged with staff and customer alike, 103rd out of 103, lying to MP's. the list is getting longer.

    Might it be too much to ask someone to get it sorted before the mess gets worse.

    Put the service back in civil and stick to the basics, don't get hung up on Pacesetter, the good managers did it all before but never labelled it as anything other than good management practice.

    The earlier reference to the tip of the iceberg appears spot on.
    Such an important organisation needs to be helped out of its current position, but it also must want to be saved, therein lies the difference.