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, 18 September 2015

HMRC's Nudge Letters - Undue Pressure

RPC, the City law firm, has stated that HMRC is increasingly using ‘nudge’ letters to circumvent the normal dispute resolution process and put pressure on individuals currently engaged in a dispute with HMRC.

The nudge letters are sent directly to taxpayers involved in disputes with HMRC, using behavioural psychology to subconsciously nudge taxpayers to settle their disputes.  Normally, HMRC would send correspondence to the lawyer or accountant appointed by the taxpayer to represent them.

RPC says that the sending of ‘nudge’ letters directly to clients in any other area of litigation would be seen as applying undue pressure.

Adam Craggs, Partner and Head of RPC’s Tax Disputes team, is quoted by The Economic Voice:
HMRC believe that by placing pressure directly on taxpayers engaged in a dispute they can force them to pull out and settle.

They are sending letters about often highly complex issues to individuals who do not have technical knowledge of tax issues.  Not only is this a tactic designed to pressurise taxpayers into settling their dispute, it also demonstrates just how far HMRC is prepared to go in its attempt to persuade taxpayers not to pursue their dispute.

If a financial services business was found to be using a similar tactic, it is likely the FCA would be knocking very firmly on that business’s door.

If HMRC are confident of their technical arguments, they have nothing to fear from the dispute resolution process and do not need to spend taxpayers’ money on behavioural scientists to ‘nudge’ taxpayers to abandon their appeals.
This is a shoddy practice, and one that needs to be investigated by whatever authority allegedly exercises oversight over HMRC, eg PAC.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Being Friday, itt is time for a weekly wake-up call to the faithful, those among you who see or have seen HMRC from the inside or have experienced its dealings as a taxpayer or associated professional.

    The observant amongst you will have read the final sentence regarding investigative oversight of HMRC with a modicum of interest, again, and moved swifty on knowing that the PAC is an ineffective forum that lacks ability and will to undertake its duties efficiently - Public Accounts Committee - my arse!

    The PAC as does the average Politician knows full well the extent and depth of law breaking in many forms by this ridiculed "flagship" government department and its "leadership". HMRC has been allowed to continue as it wishes despite the blindingly obvious evidence laid before those who should act in the public interest.

    A Judical or Parliamentary review wouldtake too long to undertake, and, as with other "reviews" or "enquiries", be subject to interference and fail the taxayer.

    What is the answer? Don't know, possibly someone and/or some organisation could pull together the broad array of dissent and evidence that exists across various forums such as this blog, the What Do They Know? FOI website (enter HMRC into its search engine and take your pick), the media, members of the medical profession, Taxpayers Alliance etc.

    What I do know is that the whole thing has become a farce, one question worth asking might be "Since its formation, what sectors of the various Revenue Streams have shown an effective decline e.g. Customs/Excise duties collected at Border from travellers?".

    It is time to get the monolith sorted out, either break it up or sort out the current situation, but stop messing about!

  2. There has been a failure to connect the dots re. HMRC, PCS union, as has been stated many times is a total failure and should be censured by the TUC for its sell out and acceptance of promotions!
    If the numerous M.P.'s, whose constituents have complained for years about illegal treatment by HMRC were prepared to stand and be counted things might improve.
    An organisation not mentioned by the previous post is Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), enter HMRC into their website search and look carefully at their findings, especially where a topic is revisited - HMIC did their job, the politicians have not done theirs, shame.
    Its almost as though no-one cares?
    Ah well, move along there, nothing to see here.

    1. progress has been slow. HMIC considers that HMRC has failed to adhere to and implement the 2011 reports recommendations in a way HMIC would have expected.
      Although HMRC had developed an action plan, there was a lack of effective
      governance to ensure that sufficient priority and focus was given to addressing these recommendations
      Contrary to HMRC‟s March 2013 action plan which stated that all recommendations had been „closed‟, HMIC found that only three of the 15
      recommendations have been discharged (see Annex A)
      . These are recommendations 9,11 and 13 which relate to
      international asset sharing agreements, the execution of search warrants and the effective use of Crown Prosecution Service resources to maximise the realisation of un-enforced confiscation orders....

  3. Says it all really Ken!

  4. Anything to avoid the real work seems to be the mantra. They actually aspire to the sort of crap 'customer' service you get from banks and the like, whether the 'customer' is some poor sod struggling on tax credits or a serious evader. One wonders why...