HMRC, is in chaos. Staff numbers have been declining for years, while the demands on the agency have increased. This has led to a situation where taxpayers are struggling to get through to HMRC on the phone, and letters are taking weeks or even months to be answered.
In a recent letter to the Chancellor, leading industry figures warned
that HMRC is "drowning" and that taxpayers are "too". They called for an
immediate injection of resources to help the tax office get back on
In a recent report, the Committee of Public Accounts found that HMRC's response times had "deteriorated significantly" in recent years. In 2021-22, only 39.5% of mail was responded to within 15 days, compared to 70.3% in 2019-20. The average speed of answering calls was also up, from 6:39 minutes in 2019-20 to 12:22 minutes in 2021-22.
The report also found that HMRC's systems were "not fit for purpose". This is leading to problems such as taxpayers being sent incorrect letters, and payments being delayed.
So what's gone wrong at HMRC?
There are a number of factors, but one of the main ones is understaffing. The number of staff at HMRC has fallen by around 20% in the past five years. This is due to a combination of factors, including budget cuts and the retirement of older staff.
Another factor is the increasing complexity of the tax system. The government has introduced a number of new taxes in recent years, which has put a strain on HMRC's resources.
The pandemic has also played a role in the chaos at HMRC. The agency had to deal with a surge in demand for services during the pandemic, while at the same time many staff were working from home.
None if this will be resolved:
- HMRC management is tin eared to the problems of taxpayers
- the government will never get a grip on this until a cabinet position for HMRC is created
- the wide open maul that is MTD will suck in and waste what little resources are left.
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