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, 28 September 2011

Destined To Fail

Despite all the public pronouncements by HMRC that improvements are on schedule, and that targets etc will be met, it appears that one particular target will not be met.

Anything important?

Errrmm, yes actually...Universal Credit, the flagship of the government's plans to simplify the benefits system.

George Osborne has been warned that it will not be ready in time for its official launch deadline of 2013.

For why?

HMRC have fessed up privately to ministers that the deadline will be missed.
Universal Credit is now being assessed by the Major Projects Authority, a group of officials and commercial experts from the Treasury and Cabinet Office. Their key concern being that the “real time” information system, to be provided by HMRC, will not be ready by April 2013.

This should hardly come as a surprise. In April 2011 I wrote the following:

"David Gauke, the Exchequer secretary, has given an answer to a written parliamentary question that confirms that HMRC will proceed with the Real Time Information scheme for tax payment.

I expect HMRC to be in a position to pilot the Real Time Information system with employers, pension providers and payroll bureaux from the spring of 2012."


Real world experience shows that just because a politician gives a fantasy deadline, the actuality is far removed from fantasy.

Regarding Gauke's fantasy project, tax professionals are not convinced that the deadline is realistic or that HMRC are actually up to the job of implementing this system

Pity that Gauke didn't listen!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Not a snowball's hope in hell this will go as "planned". Everyone who is even remotely involved will be "rowing back" post haste. The Coalition need to dispose of some senior management pour encourager les autres

  2. Anon @ 12:47...

    ...and get shot of PaceSetter and Caseflow. These systems cost a colossal amount of taxpayers' money, yet there is not a shred of evidence that HMRC have improved their performance as a consequence of their implementation.

    Does anyone know where to find a verifiable figure for the costs to date of PaceSetter and Caseflow?

    It's only taxpayers' money that is being wasted, so the management don't care, but I imagine Joe Public and the Public Accounts Committee might be interested how many £millions are being flushed down the loo.

  3. I am conflicted by this one. On the one hand, I desperately want UC to succeed as the curent Tax Credits system is a colossal waste if precious resources. Also, it is ridiculous that HMRC are administering "benefits". Obviously the introduction of UB will add costs to employers payroll functions, and that is regrettable. The gains are a huge saving for the administration of the tax system and eventual transfer of the " benefits" function to the DWP.

    Re Pacesetter and Caseflow. They will never be ditched as they have never been continuously " reviewed". You will find numbers bandied about hundreds of millions in efficiency savings which conflate increases in productivity with greater tax take all because of the new systems.

    UC will have to be delivered, maybe on time, maybe late, because it must. Tax Credits need to be sorted out. Pacesetter will continue as it believed to be the cure to all that ails HMRC ( as well as the rest of the Civil Service).

    Case flow is getting regular mentions on the Hotseat. The answers are emphatic. Nothing is wrong, this is simply continuous improvement!

    HMRC will be fixed, but not yet. EXCOM will to be given time by their political masters to show progress whilst cutting budgets every year until 2015. That isn't easy, and expect orgasmic shrieks to every bit of progress and complete denial of anything that was not part of the road to paradise.

    Failure of the overall plan is obviously a certainty. Get ready for yet more disruption and lunacy. Dickens could have written about HMRC, "Hard Times" truly sums it up.

  4. I know its tax payers money that is being wasted by the millions or is it billions when you consider what is avoided, evaded or just written off, but surely Joe Public should be making a noise?
    Has the PCS cmpaign on the Tax Gap failed to hit the right target.
    Its obvious that if you have your assetts overseas then whatever happens here is not going to concern you too much e.g. Artful Dodger...?
    Or is Joe Public not interested in reality unless it appears on a reality TV programme like Zzzzzzzz factor?!

  5. I'm sure I read on the intranet the other day that HMRC was going to take responsibility for chasing the money owed from the new UB.

    Can someone confirm or correct me?

    I remember just a few months ago a message saying all UB work would be done by DWP and any staff would work for DWP not HMRC.

  6. droomennIsn't HMRC due to take full payroll control in the future i.e. all remuneration ue to employees will be remitted to HMRC from the employer, all taxes and NI contributions, Student Loan repayments, CSA etc will be deducted before the remainder is remitted to the employee or "customer"?

    Now, call me an anarchist if you want, but given the past performance of HMRC and IT related to taxation systems in recent years would you trust them to get it right, or would it be privatised by then anyway and only a core strategic function remaining, now there's an idea for a pacesetter whiteboard!?

    HMRC PLC LLP Head Office BVI

  7. Anonymous @ 18.39

    Joe Public is interested in what it knows/sees - that is what is in the papers and on TV. The problem is that there is no sustained campaign in the popular media to show up the tax gap for the disgrace that it is. Neither is there any Political will to do anything about it. When you realise that most newspaper proprietors, TV Executives and half of the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet benefit from Tax Evasion it is easy to see why this is so.
    I was told by a senior officer in HMRC that there were senior members of the Department with off-shore acounts! In Private Eye
    Osborne's "deal" with the Swiss banks is totally surgically disected as worthless; and worse as designed to scupper more aggressive EU efforts to recoup Tax from these banks. Now I do not know whether this is true but I would like to see Osborne asked to counter their arguments in a public forum but it will never happen.
    As for HMRC itself it seems amazing to me that Hartnett is able to behave as he does with apparent impunity. Wining and dining with the very people he is dealing with over million pound tax assesments. This is totally inappropriate. It is reflective of a total breakdown of Standards at the top of the Department which was once upon a time two very professional and honourable organisations. It all seems to wash over the select committees and Gauke and Alexander who never do anything.

  8. "Joe Public is interested in what it knows/sees - that is what is in the papers and on TV."

    What "Joe Public" is interested in is getting the services that they pay for and not seeing tax money wasted by incompetent government agencies.

  9. What "Joe Public" is interested in is getting the services that they pay for and not seeing tax money wasted by incompetent government agencies.

    But he is quite happy to see private companies taking more and providing less in the interests of making those departments "more efficient". Particularly if that private company is based abroad and therefore avoids paying tax or employing people in this country.

    I suppose if it is deliberately dishonest as opposed to incompetent it ok.

  10. @10:41

    You are obviously a bit of a dick.

    The post @09:35 does not mention private companies doing the work of the public sector.