Wednesday 12 June 2024

HMRC Kowtows To The Cult of George Floyd - DEI Must DIE!


 

On 22 May HRMC, civil servants, for reasons best known to themselves, held an hour-long discussion about the death of serial criminal George Floyd. 

When senior HMRC officials were asked if people had become scared of the term "EDI", one replied: “don't back down, definitely don't do that”.

During the discussion one senior civil servant said

"Whether people believe that we should be anti-racist, whether people believe that we should just fight to fight racism, everyone needs to be involved in the fight to eliminate all isms like that's fascism, sexism, racism, etc.

We encourage everyone, join your [diversity] networks, whether they are the race network, the LGBT network, their faith network, etc. because in this space, at this present moment in time, where EDI is not seen as a positive thing, think about the positive way people come together that we can do.”

This has nothing to do with HMRC's role in collecting taxes. There are already equality laws in place, DEI destroys organisations and negatively impacts efficiency.

DEI has no role to play in either the public or private sector and needs to be expunged.

DEI must DIE!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Tuesday 4 June 2024

HMRC Fucks Up 500,000 Child Benefit Payments


 

HMRC has fucked up yesterday's child benefit payments.

Statistics

Number of people affected: Approximately 500,000 families did not receive their child benefit payments as scheduled yesterday.

Percentage of delayed payments: Around 30% of the scheduled child benefit payments were not made.

Reasons for Delays

The delay in child benefit payments was due to a batch processing problem at HMRC. This technical issue prevented around 30% of the scheduled payments from going through. HMRC has apologised for the inconvenience and has been working urgently to resolve the issue.

HMRC has assured that those affected will receive their payments and anyone who has incurred a direct financial loss can apply for redress.

The delayed payments are expected to hit people's bank accounts tomorrow (5 June). That's all well and good. However, the impact of these delays cannot be overstated. A delay in receiving child benefits can mean the difference between being able to afford groceries for the week or going hungry.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Thursday 30 May 2024

Lost AML Form Cost Agent £15K - HMRC Fucks Up Again


In the world of accounting and finance, precision, accuracy, and adherence to rules are not just desirable traits - they are the very foundation upon which the industry stands. However, it seems that these principles do not always apply to the institutions that govern these industries. A recent incident involving His Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) serves as a stark reminder of this fact.

The Incident

An accounting firm recently found itself in the eye of a storm, all due to a misplaced anti-money laundering form at the HMRC headquarters. This seemingly minor oversight had major repercussions, leading to the firm's agent access being revoked. The result? A loss of a month's worth of work and the firm teetering on the brink of closure.

The Fallout

The suspension of the agent account meant that the firm was unable to carry out its regular operations, leading to significant delays and financial losses. The firm, like many others, relies on the agent account to interact with HMRC, submit forms, and carry out other necessary tasks. The suspension effectively crippled the firm, highlighting the disproportionate impact of the HMRC's error.

As per Accountingweb:

“I set up my firm five years ago and it grew during Covid. From the start, I’ve been supervised for money laundering by ICAEW. The only interaction I have with HMRC is as an agent.

In September 2021, I received a request status from HMRC asking who is supervising me for money laundering. I returned the AML 103 form in the post as requested to HMRC in October 2021.

Unfortunately, it landed at HMRC and went into the wrong workflow. It later transpired that the person who received it took 53 days to get through their workload, get to my form and realise it had nothing to do with them, at which point they gave it back to the main switchboard. 

In the meantime, I was struck off as a non-responder. This resulted in my agent status being removed, along with my ability to submit corporation tax and self assessment returns, which make up the bulk of my work. This was on 2 Dec 2021, at my firm’s busiest time.

With no agent services login, I lost the ability to trade – it was awful. I tried calling, writing and emailing but just couldn’t get an answer.

The ‘agent maintainer’ team is apparently responsible for this, but they don’t accept emails or phone calls. There’s no follow-up, you can’t speak to this team – it’s an almost mythical department. They have a ‘service level agreement’ to respond to letters within 40 days, but that’s no good when I can’t run my business.

Because I’ve previously worked on committees for ICAEW, I was fortunate to know the right people to call at the Institute. After a bit of back and forth, they had someone literally walk the corridors of HMRC to find this team and ask them. Without this, they’d have been completely unaccountable. 

I lost a whole month's business, around £15,000. It had a catastrophic impact on my firm, which was in its infancy and could have gone under. As it was, I had a terrible January with a whole pile of work and a massive cashflow hole – with all the costs of December with no income. I spent the next six to eight months just recovering.  

Naturally, I complained and got my MP involved. By March 2022, HMRC accepted my complaint and offered me £150 compensation. This was not at all acceptable and they said I had the right to approach the adjudicator’s office to make an independent complaint.

The adjudicator’s office came back and said they do not have jurisdiction because I’m technically not a taxpayer – in this instance, I’m treated as a service provider. The best they said they could do was to attempt to launch a Parliamentary inquiry – that’s obviously not what I was looking for.

I completely accept that it’s a process gone wrong, not someone at HMRC who hates me. But it’s their process and nobody dealt with it. If the ICAEW hadn’t got behind this, who knows where I’d be?

My case was very clearly an internal gaff, which HMRC admitted, but they were still unwilling to do anything or take responsibility. Agents don’t get a right of appeal when something like this happens, there’s no higher body. 

HMRC also needs to come to the realisation that accountants in practice are not the enemy.”


HMRC's Role

While mistakes happen in every organisation, the magnitude of the impact in this case raises questions about HMRC's processes and systems. 

How did a single misplaced form lead to such drastic consequences? 

Why was there no system in place to prevent such an oversight, or at least to mitigate its effects?

The Need for Change

This incident underscores the need for HMRC to review its procedures and implement safeguards to prevent such occurrences in the future. It is crucial for HMRC to remember that its actions and decisions have a far-reaching impact on businesses and individuals alike. A misplaced form should not have the power to bring a business to its knees.

In conclusion, HMRC must acknowledge its responsibility towards the entities it governs. A review of its systems and procedures is not just desirable, but necessary. After all, in the world of finance and accounting, even a small misstep can have a domino effect, leading to consequences far greater than the initial error.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Tuesday 28 May 2024

HMRC Awards Capgemini £245M - A Nice Little Earner


It's time to take a hard look at the recent decision by HMRC to extend its contract with Capgemini for legacy system maintenance. The deal, worth a staggering £245.5 million, means that in just 2.5 years, taxpayers will have contributed half a billion pounds to keep the lights on at HMRC.

The Cost of Legacy Systems

Legacy systems, by their very nature, are outdated. They represent old technology, often riddled with inefficiencies and security vulnerabilities. Yet, HMRC has chosen to pour more money into maintaining these systems rather than investing in modern, efficient, and secure alternatives.

The cost of this decision is not just financial. It's a cost borne by every taxpayer in the UK, who must continue to navigate a tax system propped up by outdated technology. It's a cost to the economy, as resources that could be used to drive innovation and growth are instead sunk into maintaining the status quo.

The Role of Capgemini

Capgemini, a multinational professional services and business consulting corporation, has been tasked with keeping these legacy systems running. But at what cost? The £245.5 million contract represents a significant investment in a company tasked with maintaining, not modernising, our tax system.

While Capgemini might have the expertise to manage these systems, the question remains: is this the best use of their skills, and our money? Could these resources not be better spent on developing a tax system fit for the 21st century?

The Need for Change

It's clear that a change is needed. Rather than pouring money into legacy systems, HMRC should be investing in modern, efficient, and secure technology. This would not only save money in the long term but also provide a better service to taxpayers.

In an era of digital transformation, it's disgrasceful to see HMRC clinging to the past. It's time for them to step into the future, for the sake of every taxpayer in the UK.

In conclusion, while the decision to extend the contract with Capgemini might keep the lights on at HMRC for now, it's a short-sighted move that fails to consider the long-term implications. It's time for HMRC to stop relying on legacy systems and start investing in the future. The taxpayers deserve better.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Friday 24 May 2024

Bug Off! - The Unresolved Bedbug Infestation at HMRC



It's a story that has been crawling around for almost two years now. A tale of an infestation that has not only plagued the premises of the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) office in Brooke Lawrance House, Ipswich, but also the peace of mind of its employees. 

The culprit? 

Bedbugs.

The Persistent Pests

Despite numerous attempts to eradicate the issue, including chemical treatments, steam cleans, and even the employment of sniffer dogs, the bedbug problem remains unresolved. The situation is so dire that the building, which houses more than 500 staff members, has been on the market for £15 million.

The Impact on Employees

The impact of this issue extends far beyond the physical discomfort of the employees. It has instilled a sense of fear and anxiety among the staff. Some employees have chosen to work from home, worried about the possibility of carrying these pests back to their homes. This concern is particularly heightened for those caring for elderly relatives or children.

 HMRC's Response: A Mere Lip Service?

While HMRC maintains that the health and safety of its employees is its "top priority", the reality seems to paint a different picture. Despite the ongoing issue, HMRC claims that no bedbug sightings have been reported since the start of the year. However, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) contradicts this claim, stating that the presence of bedbugs was identified as recently as January.

The Need for Accountability

The situation calls for more than just repeated assurances of employee safety. It demands accountability and effective action. The HMRC needs to acknowledge the severity of the issue and take immediate, effective measures to ensure the well-being of its employees.

In conclusion, the unresolved bedbug issue at the HMRC office is a glaring example of negligence and lack of effective action. It's high time that HMRC steps up its efforts and prioritizes the health and safety of its employees over mere lip service. After all, a healthy work environment is not just about physical spaces, but also about ensuring peace of mind for its occupants.

Just out of idle curiosity, does anyone know how the hell the bugs got there in the first place?


Tax does have to be taxing.

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Wednesday 22 May 2024

HMRC's Costly Oversight: Work-from-Home Staff Lose £1 Million in Equipment


 

Introduction:

In a shocking revelation, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has suffered a significant financial blow due to the carelessness of its work-from-home staff. Over the past three years, thousands of mobile phones, laptops, and other electronic devices have gone missing, resulting in an estimated loss of £1 million. Let's delve into the details and dissect the implications of this costly oversight.

The Numbers Don't Lie:

Last year alone, HMRC staff lost around 10 mobile phones and two laptops every week. Over the three-year period, a staggering 1,670 mobile phones and 334 laptops vanished into thin air. Additionally, 10 USB computer memory devices disappeared, further contributing to the mounting losses.

Stolen Goods:

Not only were items lost, but theft also played a role. During the same timeframe, 95 phones were reported stolen, along with 562 laptops and one memory device. If we assume an average replacement cost of £500 per device, the total bill for lost phones and laptops reaches £1 million. And that's not all—the stolen electronic equipment adds another £330,000 to the tally. Considering that many phones and laptops cost well above these estimates, the actual financial impact could be even higher.

HMRC's Troubling Track Record:

These revelations come amidst a series of negative stories about HMRC's operations. Delays in handling telephone enquiries, payroll blunders leading to overpayments, and a drop in overall performance have plagued the tax office. MPs have criticized HMRC's work-from-home policies, which they believe have contributed to the decline in efficiency since the pandemic began.

Security Implications:

Beyond the financial losses, there are serious security implications. Lost or stolen equipment can compromise sensitive data. HMRC claims that all devices are locked with a codeword and can be remotely wiped of data. However, cyber security experts emphasise the importance of robust encryption and passcodes to prevent data breaches.

Conclusion:

HMRC must address this issue urgently. Whether it's improving security protocols, implementing stricter accountability measures, or reevaluating work-from-home policies, the tax office cannot afford to lose more ground. The cost of negligence is steep, and taxpayers deserve better.


Tax does have to be taxing.

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Thursday 16 May 2024

HMRC Spaffing Our Money Up The Wall Unchecked - DEI Must DIE!


 

As per Guido:

"HMRC admits it does “not ask that colleagues centrally report time spent engaging with Staff Diversity Networks”, so staff time spent on them remains untracked."

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Wednesday 15 May 2024

HMRC - 800 Years of Failure


In the annals of bureaucratic inefficiency, the HMRC (His Majesty's Revenue and Customs) has etched its name in bold, underlined letters. The recent report revealing the HMRC's shortcomings is not just disappointing, it's downright infuriating.

800 Years of Waiting: A Disgrace

Taxpayers have been left on hold for seven million hours in 2023-24 – the equivalent of 798 years. This is more than double the 3.2 million hours – or 365 years – they spent waiting for HMRC to pick up the phone in 2019-20.

This isn't just a statistic, it's a slap in the face of every hardworking individual who has ever had the misfortune of dealing with the HMRC. It's a testament to the HMRC's blatant disregard for the value of our time and the importance of our queries.

Value for Money? More Like a Black Hole

The HMRC's primary role is to manage public funds. But the report suggests that it's failing to deliver value for money. It's as if our hard-earned money disappears into a black hole, never to be seen again. This isn't just inefficient, it's unacceptable.

A Call to Arms

This isn't a time for gentle words and diplomatic language. It's a time for action. The HMRC needs to pull up its socks and address these issues head-on. We demand better customer service, shorter wait times, and a system that respects our contributions.

Conclusion

We, the taxpayers, are not cash cows to be milked dry. We deserve respect, efficiency, and transparency. The HMRC has failed us, and it's high time they faced the music.


Tax does have to be taxing.

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Tuesday 14 May 2024

Taxpayers' Money Spaffed Up The Wall on DEI - DEI Must DIE!


 

Further to my article yesterday about the cost of DEI in HMRC, the loyal reader who shared the FOI has provided the following update:

"there are network chairs for 

-Carers 

-Disability 

-Religion or Belief 

-LGBT+ 

-Race 

-Social Mobility 

Gender Each network has one chair (20%), 2 deputy chairs (20% each) and one regional lead for each of the 14 regions who each get 20%. 

So 17 people for each network each on 20%.

There are also people called menopause warriors, but it's not clear if they get official time. Same with Autism buddies."

That's up to £16K per person.

Our money being spaffed up the wall on this bollocks!

DEI must DIE!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Monday 13 May 2024

Diversity Bollocks To Be Scrapped - DEI Must DIE!


 

Responding to reports that diversity roles in the civil service are set to be scrapped, Joanna Marchong, investigations campaigns manager of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

“Taxpayers will be thrilled that ministers are injecting some much needed common sense into Whitehall.

Creating whole teams devoted to EDI initiatives has been a disaster for the public sector, which has spent vast amounts of money and time on needless navel-gazing, as public services deteriorate.

Politicians should now crackdown on these redundant roles at all levels of government, not just in the civil service.”


By happenstance a loyal reader has sent me the response from HMRC to an FOI on the subject of Diversity Network Chairs. 

Each network chair is allowed to spend 20% of their full time employment in the role. Grades ranging from Higher Officer to Grade 6 are currently involved with these roles. Their full time pay ranges from £35K to £81K, as such the Chairs are costing up to £16K per person, based on 20%.

Taxpayers' money spaffed up against the wall!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Friday 10 May 2024

Useless Gobshites!


 

As per Guido:

"Later this month will see HMRC organising a “cross Civil Service discussion” to lament about the fourth anniversary of George Floyd’s death. 

Topics up for discussion at the session will include where Treasury pen-pushers were when they first heard the life-altering news."



Tax does have to be taxing.

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Friday 26 April 2024

HMRC Overtaxes Pensioners By £200M


In an era where precision is expected and demanded, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has committed an error that is nothing short of indefensible. Last year, pensioners were overtaxed by more than £3,000 each due to miscalculations by HMRC as a result of "quirks" that have lain unfixed in HMRC's systems for years. These errors have resulted in overpayments amounting to a staggering £200 million. This is not just a simple mistake; it is a gross negligence of duty and a betrayal of the trust that the public places in such institutions.

The Unforgivable Mistake

HMRC, the very body entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring correct tax calculations, has faltered in its duty. The miscalculations have led to pensioners, some of the most vulnerable members of our society, being overtaxed by more than £3,000 each. This is not a trivial amount, especially for those living on a fixed income. It is money that could have been used for healthcare, food, and other necessities.

The Impact on Pensioners

The impact of this error extends beyond just financial loss. It has likely caused undue stress and anxiety among pensioners who are left to grapple with the implications of these overpayments. Many may have been forced to dip into their savings or make other financial sacrifices to make ends meet.

The Need for Accountability

It is imperative that HMRC is held accountable for this monumental blunder. An error of this magnitude is not just an oversight; it is a systemic failure that needs to be addressed at the highest levels. There must be a thorough investigation into how such a mistake occurred and measures must be put in place to ensure it does not happen again.

Conclusion

The overtaxing of pensioners due to HMRC's errors is a stark reminder of the need for vigilance and accuracy in all financial matters. It is a wake-up call for HMRC to tighten its procedures and checks to ensure such a costly mistake is not repeated. The pensioners who have been affected deserve not just a refund, but an apology and the assurance that steps are being taken to rectify the situation. Anything less would be another indefensible error.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Thursday 25 April 2024

HMRC's Stubborn Stance on Phone Line Closures


In an era where the importance of open communication channels is more evident than ever, it is disheartening to see the HMRC's unwavering commitment to a strategy that seems to prioritise cost-cutting over customer service. The recent statement from the HMRC boss, confirming that closing phone lines is still part of their strategy, is a stark reminder of this unfortunate reality.

Ignoring the Backlash

Despite the significant backlash over previous plans to cut helplines, the tax office has refused to rule out future helpline cuts. This decision not only disregards the public outcry but also undermines the essential role that these helplines play in providing timely and accurate tax information to the public.

The Human Element

While digitalisation has its merits, it cannot replace the human element that telephone helplines provide. They offer a direct, personal, and immediate form of communication that many taxpayers rely on, particularly those who are not as tech-savvy or those dealing with complex tax issues.

Quotes from the Treasury Select Committee Meeting

During the Treasury Select Committee session, Jim Harra addressed the issue of taxpayers needing extra support, stating that HMRC identifies customers who need extra support by their individual needs or personal circumstances rather than the reasons for HMRC contact.

"I am not saying we won’t return to this, because it is part of our strategy and we do think it was effective last year.

I’m very disappointed that we have not been able to take what I regard as a modernising step at this point.

Our monitoring tells us that for both our helpline staff, our web chat advisors and also staff on our post teams, they are as effective at home as they are in the office.

So I’m confident, whilst I want to make sure that colleagues comply with working from home policy I’m confident an answer to our problem is not to change the balance of working from home and working in the office.

We know that colleagues answering phone calls at home all have the same productivity as colleagues answering in the office. Whilst we are continuing to implement our office working attending strategy that is not going to make a material difference in the short term to performance of our helplines.”

A Call for Change

It is high time that HMRC reevaluates its strategy. The focus should be on improving and expanding customer service channels, not reducing them. The HMRC must remember that it serves the public, and its strategies should reflect the needs and preferences of the public, not just its budgetary constraints.

In conclusion, HMRC's insistence on closing phone lines, despite the clear public opposition, is a troubling indication of its disregard for customer service. One can only hope that HMRC will listen to the voices of the taxpayers and reconsider its stance on this critical issue. After all, a tax system that does not prioritise the needs of its taxpayers is a system that fails in one of its fundamental duties.


Tax does have to be taxing.

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Monday 22 April 2024

MPs To Quiz HMRC Chief Over Rayner’s Affairs


 

The Treasury Committee’s decision to question the HMRC chief about Rayner’s tax affairs is a significant development. The focus of the inquiry is the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) rules, which are at the heart of the row over Rayner’s property dealings.

Well, as fascinating as this might be, it will achieve SWFA; as Rayner (like everyone else) is entitled to confidentiality wrt her tax affairs (unless she is on trial or has been formally charged). HMRC will brush this aside and say they don't comment on individual's tax affairs.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Monday 15 April 2024

HMRC's £12M Erroneous Overpayments: A Decade of Mismanagement

 


In an astonishing revelation, it has been reported that His Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has mistakenly overpaid its own staff by millions of pounds³. This shocking mismanagement of public funds raises serious questions about the financial controls within the organisation.

A Decade of Overpayments

Over the past decade, HMRC employees have pocketed a staggering £12.6 million in erroneous overpayments. In the last year alone, some 250 employees were mistakenly overpaid by more than £1,000. These figures, obtained by The Telegraph, show a total of £12.3 million has been paid back by staff, leaving a £300,000 shortfall.

The Impact on Public Trust

The news of these overpayments is likely to erode public trust in the HMRC. Jonathan Eida, a researcher at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, rightly pointed out that taxpayers will be fuming that tax officials have been filling their pockets with more than they’re entitled to, even if it’s by accident. The fact that a significant portion of the overpaid cash hasn’t been clawed back is even more concerning.

HMRC's Response

In response to these revelations, an HMRC spokesman stated that they operate at a monthly payroll average accuracy rate of 99.54%, which exceeds the corporate benchmark of 98%. However, this still means that 0.05% of the total paybill in the 2022-23 financial year was incorrectly paid. This equates to over £1.2 million, of which only 84% has been recovered.

Conclusion

These revelations highlight the need for improved financial controls within HMRC. It is unacceptable for public funds to be mismanaged in this way. HMRC must take immediate action to rectify these errors and ensure that every last penny of the overpaid money is reclaimed. Only then can public trust in the organization be restored.

The HMRC's erroneous overpayments are a stark reminder of the importance of financial accountability in public institutions. It is crucial that such institutions maintain the highest standards of financial management to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer money.


Tax does have to be taxing.

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Thursday 11 April 2024

HMRC Spunks £4.5M of Taxpayers' Money Up The Wall on Woke Non Jobs



In an era where every penny of public expenditure should be accounted for, the recent revelation of HMRC's spending on 'woke non-jobs' is nothing short of a scandal.

A Misguided Spending Spree

HMRC, the body responsible for collecting taxes and ensuring financial fairness, has ironically been caught in a wasteful spending spree. A whopping £4.5 million has been squandered on roles that have been labelled as 'woke non-jobs'. These are roles add little to no value to the organisation or to the public it serves.

Here are the non jobs that our taxes are paying for:

  • Culture Impacting and Equalities Support
  • Senior Consultant for Equality Diversity
  • Values & Culture Advocate Lead
  • Wellbeing Project Co-ordinator
  • Culture Impacting and Equalities Support

The Cost of Irresponsibility

This £4.5 million is not just a number. It represents a colossal waste of public funds, funds that could have been better spent on improving public services, reducing the tax burden, or even paying down the national debt. Instead, this money has been frittered away on jobs that seem more focused on virtue signalling than delivering tangible benefits to the public.

A Call for Accountability

This situation calls for a serious examination of HMRC's spending priorities. It's high time that HMRC, like all public sector organisations, is held accountable for its spending decisions. The public deserves to know why such a significant amount of money is being spent on 'woke non-jobs' and what benefits, if any, these roles are bringing.

In conclusion, HMRC's £4.5 million spending on 'woke non-jobs' is a glaring example of financial irresponsibility. It's a stark reminder of the need for greater transparency, accountability, and financial prudence in all areas of public expenditure. 

The public deserves better, and it's high time that HMRC delivered!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Monday 8 April 2024

Sacked For Not Being Sorry Enough



In a recent turn of events, Gordon Askew, a member of the branch executive committee at HMRC's Benton Park View branch in Newcastle, was dismissed. The grounds for this dismissal were cited as 'potential' computer misuse.

Background

The dismissal followed a series of targeted strike actions taken by the branch, including three national days of strike action. In the aftermath of these strikes, HMRC launched an investigation into two Newcastle-based representatives.

The Charge

The charge against Askew was a 'potential' breach of the department's IT policy. This was allegedly due to a Microsoft Teams message sent to a number of PCS members, relating to the strike action. The department’s decision maker claimed that Microsoft Teams had been used “without a legitimate business reason”.

The Decision

Despite Askew's nearly thirty years of spotless service to the department, the decision maker opted for dismissal. It was stated that a lesser penalty was considered, but the decision to sack Askew was made because he didn’t appear to be sorry enough for what he had done.

A History of Dismissals

This is not the first time that a PCS representative has been dismissed by HMRC management in Newcastle. In 2017, the branch organiser was sacked for emailing the branch membership list from his work email account to his personal account². Despite PCS arguing that a PCS rep emailing PCS material from work to home was not a matter for the department, the dismissal proceeded. However, PCS was successful in securing the rep’s reinstatement.

Next Steps

PCS is currently discussing the next steps with their Legal Department. A meeting for all members of the branch will be held on 10 April to discuss the response to the sacking.

Conclusion

This incident raises questions about the treatment of union representatives and the interpretation of IT policies within HMRC. It underscores the importance of clear communication and fair treatment in the workplace. As the situation unfolds, PCS members and observers alike will be keenly watching the developments.


Tax does have to be taxing.

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Thursday 28 March 2024

HMRC Proudly Admits That a Human Wrote This!

 


 

HMRC has confirmed that it does not use AI to write letters sent to taxpayers, and is proud to confirm that the above was written by a member of its human staff!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Friday 22 March 2024

HMRC Announces 60% Office Attendance


 

 

HMRC has recently confirmed a significant change in office attendance for its employees. Starting from 2nd April 2024, all grades within the organisation will be required to attend the office at least 60% of their working time. This move comes as part of the government's efforts to transition back to a more traditional office-based work environment.

You would have thought that they should already be in the office on a daily basis!

The 'Office Attendance Tool'

To facilitate this transition, HMRC is introducing the Office Attendance Tool. Here are some key points about how it works:

1. Automatic Data Gathering: The tool automatically collects data from various sources to determine where an employee is working. If an employee docks their computer at an office desk, it registers as a day of office attendance. Connecting via Government Wi-Fi does not create a report, but swiping into an office with a swipe card system also counts as attending the office.

2. Manager Access: Managers do not have access to specific timings for swiping in or docking computers. The system simply registers office days without providing detailed information on arrival or departure times.

Outstanding Concerns

Despite the implementation date being set for 2nd April, there are several outstanding concerns raised by employees and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS):

1. Office Capacity: Employees are worried about office capacity and whether there will be enough space to accommodate the increased attendance.

2. Travel Costs: Some employees may face additional travel costs due to increased office attendance.

3. Training: Concerns exist regarding the level of training provided to staff and managers on how the tool functions.

4. Functionality: The functionality of the Attendance Tool itself has been questioned, especially after access issues were reported during the initial rollout.

As I said, it rather beggars belief that staff are not already in the office 60% of the time!
Tax does have to be taxing.

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Wednesday 20 March 2024

HMRC's Helpline Debacle U Turn - Useless Wankers!


 

HMRC has recently been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. In a move that can only be described as a spectacular display of poor judgement, HMRC announced plans to make permanent cuts to its helplines, only to retract the proposal less than 24 hours later. This incident not only exposes a worrying lack of foresight within the organization but also raises serious concerns about its commitment to serving taxpayers.

A Reckless Proposal

The initial decision to cut helplines was nothing short of reckless. It demonstrated a complete disregard for the needs of taxpayers, particularly those who are less tech-savvy or grappling with complex tax issues. The backlash was immediate and intense, and rightly so. Yet, the speed at which HMRC backtracked on its decision suggests that they were woefully unprepared for the consequences of their actions.

A Damning U-Turn

The swift U-turn, while necessary, is a damning indictment of HMRC's decision-making process. It paints a picture of an organisation that is out of touch with the needs of its constituents and incapable of strategic planning. This incident has done significant damage to HMRC's credibility and has left many taxpayers questioning whether they can trust the organisation to make sound decisions in the future.

A Missed Opportunity

Instead of using this incident as an opportunity to reassess its approach and improve its services, HMRC has chosen to simply revert to the status quo. This is a missed opportunity. HMRC should be investing in its helplines, improving the quality of support provided, and ensuring that all taxpayers have access to the help they need.

Conclusion

HMRC's helpline cuts debacle is a stark reminder of the importance of effective decision-making within public organisations. It's clear that HMRC needs to do better. It needs to demonstrate that it understands the needs of taxpayers and is committed to providing them with the support they require. Anything less is simply unacceptable.

HMRC is being run by useless wankers!

Tax does have to be taxing.

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Tuesday 19 March 2024

HMRC Doesn't Give a Flying Fuck - Closes Helplines


 

HMRC has announced permanent cuts to its helpline services. While the department claims these changes are part of modernisation efforts, they raise significant concerns for taxpayers and professionals alike.

1. Self Assessment Phoneline Closure
The decision to permanently close the self assessment phoneline between April and September is a perplexing one. During these crucial months, taxpayers often seek assistance with complex queries related to their self assessment. By directing them solely to online services, HMRC risks leaving many in the lurch. Not everyone is comfortable navigating digital platforms, and the closure of the phoneline may exacerbate confusion and frustration.

2. VAT and PAYE Helpline Cuts
The permanent closure of the VAT helpline is particularly troubling. Businesses rely on this service for timely advice on VAT registration, compliance, and other critical matters. The abruptness of the closure—only five days' notice—shows a lack of consideration for taxpayers and agents. Furthermore, limiting the helpline to just five days a month adds unnecessary pressure during peak filing periods.

Similarly, the PAYE helpline's refusal to handle refund-related calls is baffling. Refunds are a fundamental aspect of tax administration, and taxpayers should be able to seek clarification without hurdles. Redirecting them to online resources may not always suffice, especially when specific scenarios require personalized assistance.

3. Lack of Transparency
HMRC's decision-making process lacks transparency. The inconclusive evaluation of the trial closure of the self assessment helpline during the summer months raises questions. Why make permanent changes without a thorough assessment of their impact? 

Taxpayers deserve clarity on how these decisions were reached and what evidence supports them.

 4. Impact on Accessibility
While HMRC emphasises self-service through online channels, it must recognise that not everyone has equal access. Some taxpayers lack reliable internet connectivity or struggle with digital literacy. The closure of helplines disproportionately affects vulnerable groups, including the elderly and those with limited technological resources.

5. Professional Concerns
Tax professionals, including the ICAEW Senior Technical Manager Caroline Miskin and CIOT President Gary Ashford, have expressed reservations. The VAT helpline closure may lead to high demand, long waiting times, and potential errors. HMRC's ability to provide adequate support is now in question.

Caroline Miskin:

“While HMRC has evaluated the trial to close the self assessment helpline during the summer months, it doesn’t plan to formally review it any further, even though the impact of this move on the accuracy of returns won’t be clear for some time.

Since restricting the self assessment helpline, HMRC has been quick to promote the fact that a record number of taxpayers met the self assessment deadline. However, more people also missed the deadline and some online services require significant improvement.”

CIOT president Gary Ashford: 

“We are deeply dismayed that, so soon after the criticisms levelled at them by the Public Accounts Committee, and in the light of an inconclusive evaluation, HMRC have decided to make these big, permanent cuts to the help they provide to taxpayers. If last year’s announcement of the summer closure of the Self-Assessment helpline was a ‘flashing indicator’ that HMRC can’t cope, today’s announcements are a blinding light.

HMRC’s own evaluation of both the closure of the helpline in summer 2023, and the helpline restrictions during the 2024 self-assessment peak, concluded that it is too early to say if there has been a long-term shift from phone contact to online self-service. Yet HMRC have decided to go ahead anyway."


Conclusion
HMRC's helpline cuts risk alienating taxpayers and undermining the department's core mission—to serve the public effectively. While modernisation is essential, it should not come at the expense of accessibility and quality service. Taxpayers deserve better, and HMRC must reevaluate its approach to helpline services.


Tax does have to be taxing.

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