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, 13 October 2021

HMRC Has Ground To a Halt


HMRC is doing its best to destroy small businesses because of crippling delays, which have resulted in rebates going unpaid for months on end. 

HMRC is taking several months to process post and deal with issues that should take weeks under normal circumstances.

Taxpayers are missing out on large refunds, which has severely impacted businesses’ cash flows. Accountants said the tax authority had “ground to a halt”. 

Experts said the large numbers of HMRC staff working from home was likely to blame, as well as the clampdown on furlough fraud which they said had resulted in more taxpayer requests requiring additional verification.

Myelin Verboom of tax firm Mcas said one of her clients was still waiting on a six-figure payment. Her business could go bust if it did not receive the money soon, she warned.

“We have a property developer who bought a block of buildings, incurring a £250,000 VAT bill which was deductible. They have been trying to claim it back but the delays are so bad they have not even been able to register their business to pay the levy. 

There is a real risk these delays will end up pushing firms out of business because of the cash flow problems they are causing.”

Stuart Crofton of accountancy firm Stuart Crofton Tax said anything that required human intervention was taking longer than normal.

“I have one rebate of £50,000 still outstanding which we applied for in April. It is a massive loss for our clients. While HMRC will handover the paltry 0.5pc or so in interest the refund has accrued whilst it has sat in the tax office’s accounts, it pales when compared to the returns they could have enjoyed investing that money in the FTSE” .

HMRC aims to refund overpaid VAT within 30 days. However, its turnaround times have lengthened significantly since the start of the pandemic. 

Two thirds of letters addressed to HMRC went unanswered for more than two weeks in April and performance levels are still low, as the above chart shows. 

Lisa Styles of Hespera, another tax firm, said even simple tasks such as registering for self assessment were taking far longer than normal, meaning newly self-employed people faced being fined for late filing or tax payments next year.

If someone became self-employed last year and needed to register as self-employed to file their return and pay tax by January 31, the deadline to do this was October 5. But delays mean some are being told they will not be added to the system until March 2022, accountants said. 

Ms Styles said part of the backlog was down to a higher number of fraud checks than normal. HMRC has been tasked with recovering billions lost to fraudulent furlough claims. Higher numbers of staff are now working away from the office, after new rules allowing staff to work from home two days a week were introduced.

Self assessment services were also impacted after 5,000 staff were seconded to provide Covid-19 support during the crisis, although service levels in that department have since recovered to more normal levels, according to tax office sources. 

A spokesman for HMRC said: 

“We know there is more to do to improve turnaround on customer correspondence, and we expect to see further improvements as we emerge from the pandemic and continue to rebalance how we prioritise our resources.”

Tell that to the people whose livelihoods you have destroyed because of your delays!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. And yet there is an HMRC brown noser that would swear that these scumbags are the epitome of efficiency and that WFH is going a treat.

    If they don't raise their game, sack them!

  2. Ms Styles said part of the backlog was down to a higher number of fraud checks than normal. HMRC has been tasked with recovering billions lost to fraudulent furlough claims.

    If thieving scumbags did not attempt/succeed in defrauding the system, then perhaps things would be better.

    Hopefully the judiciary will issue the stiffest of sentences on those that defrauded the system.

    Best they also look at the untendered contracts handed out willy nilly by Boris and his friends to their friends....

  3. WFH isn't the cause of the backlog, the relentless pursuit to make the caseworkers into call centre workers and the 1k+ caseworkers that have left HMRC since the start of the new contract in April is.

    The caseworkers hands are tied, we want to shift the work but we are made to take calls from as many as 5 lines of business that we aren't trained in and know little about. We are embarrassed to tell people that their case will be dealt with by next May knowing even that target is unlikely if the management practise still continues.

  4. "Mr Styles said..." There's always excuses from these useless, worthless people.

    1. Read the article: Ms Styles works for a private accountancy firm, not HMRC.
      Surely even a hate-filled fanatic such as yourself can see that if there was no fraud then there would be no need to devote so many resources to fraud prevention and investigation.

  5. The phrase '...because of covid' will be milked for the next decade to blame dodge any criticism. A backlog of over six months is absolutely laughable.

    I'm sure a few people reading this blog remember the days of 'Over and Under 15 Days'. (I remember flexi credit and two pay rises a year too..)

    They may as well just turn the phones off altogether and get staff to work the arrears. Yet, as we all know, box ticking is the name of the game. Fobbing off the public so Director Terry Tickbox can do a spreadsheet showing 'X Calls in Y Minutes'. Wasting the valuable time of Caseworkers and what other miniscule resources are left in the department.

    It's not just HMRC. The entire public sector has been hollowed out for the last twenty years. It isn't an accident, as you're about to find out.

  6. And it seems that taxpayers, sorry, customers, are not impressed with the hapless HMRC and their 'working' from home arrangements:

    See this link to Trustpilot:

    "Appalling, awful service. You spend hours in a merry-go-round of telephone menu options that take an age to answer. Select the wrong number and you'll have to start all over again. The advisors are inconsistent and badly trained, working from home (dogs barking TVs on, phones ringing in the background and so on). It's pot luck if you get one that can help you. And get this - HMRCs staffs stock phrase is, "We can't advise on anything relating to tax." What an embarrassment to the UK this service is. A tax and revenue TAKER whose staff know nothing about tax!!! You have been warned folks call at your peril, to receive the most horrendous service ever. Been using it for 3 years and it gets worse year on year. The online forms often crash and there are errors, and you have to wait days to get an answer to any questions. Email is worse, you can wait up to 5 days for a totally unacceptable and wrong answer to your question, often the lazy advisor just sends links for you to find out yourself (Good luck with that on the website with about 5000 pages). HMRC is NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE. The UK taxpayer deserves so much better given we are among the most taxed citizens in the world."