Thursday 25 January 2024

HMRC Is Judge, Jury and Executioner - Echoes of #PostOfficeScandal

HMRC, that three-headed hydra of a government agency, and their questionable handling of the Kaye Adams case. It's a story dripping with echoes of the #PostOfficeScandal, leaving a stench of bureaucracy and broken lives in its wake.

Kaye Adams found herself on the wrong side of HMRC's algorithm and IR35. A computerised system, prone to glitches and gremlins, spat out a monstrous tax bill, enough to swallow her livelihood whole. Kaye, like many others caught in the crosshairs of this digital dragon, fought back. She challenged the assessment, presented evidence, and pleaded her case over 10 years. But HMRC, deaf as a badger at a rave, wouldn't budge. They were judge, jury, and executioner, wielding their rubber stamp of authority like a cudgel against a fly.

Now, this wouldn't be the first time the state has been accused of playing God with people's lives. Remember the #PostOfficeScandal? Hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters were hounded, bankrupted, and even imprisoned thanks to faulty software and a culture of institutional arrogance. It was a dark chapter, one that exposed the state's penchant for crushing the little guy under the weight of its bureaucratic boot.

Here we are again, with Kaye Adams facing a similar David-and-Goliath battle. HMRC, with its bottomless coffers and army of bean counters, looms large over her, a monolith of indifference. They throw around legalese and procedure like confetti at a Tory fundraiser, burying the human cost of their actions under mountains of paperwork.

Kaye found her voice, joining forces with other victims of HMRC's algorithmic injustice. They're shining a light on the agency's dark corners, demanding accountability and reform. This ain't just about Kaye's tax bill, it's about reclaiming power from a system that's rigged against the ordinary bloke.

Here is what she had to say:

"Whilst I am extremely pleased that HMRC has decided not to roll the dice on a fifth time lucky shot on my case, I remain utterly horrified at the behaviour of this department. The statement they released to the press, without my knowledge, twenty minutes after informing me of their decision, says they don’t think it would be ‘proportionate’ to appeal in this case.

"It was never proportionate.

"By the end of my first hearing five years ago, I had burned through more money in legal fees than the tax in dispute. Where was HMRC’s concern over proportionality when they appealed to Upper Tribunal and then appealed again to the Court of Appeal and then again hauled me over the coals in the First Tier Tribunal for a second time?

"Not once did they score a victory over me, yet they kept going. And now they have the audacity to suggest, my case does not set legal binding precedent. It is outrageous.

"Everyone in the media industry knows IR35 is a mess. Freelancers working for as few as ten days a year for engagers are being forced onto PAYE with no employment rights or benefits, HMRC knows IR35 is a mess. It knows it has been playing fast and loose with taxpayers’ money to push through an interpretation of the law that it has frankly invented and it seems these faceless bureaucrats are accountable to no one.

"They have the power to ruin good, honest hard-working people’s lives with no consequences.

"It is not just lives they are trashing, HMRC is making a mockery of the legislation. Self- employed status is now determined according to the pressure applied by HMRC and risk management on the part of media companies, not according to the law.

"This is a pyrrhic victory for me. I have won my case against HMRC and I have spent on legal fees nearly £300,000, which should have been in my pension. Justice eh!"

Remember, power concedes nothing without a demand. It's time to hold HMRC to account, to make them answer for the lives they've destroyed and the businesses they've crushed. Let's make sure Kaye Adams' case isn't another forgotten footnote in the agency's long history of blunders. Let's make it a catalyst for change, a rallying cry for the voiceless, a reminder that even the smallest pebble can topple the mightiest giant.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. They said it wasn't 'proportionate' to pursue it further. Such a shame that they didn't take the original ruling.

    That's HMRC for you. They're very quick to apply the rule of law but only if it works in their favour. If it doesn't then that's a different story.


    1. Saw on social media just now that a major broadcaster is looking to speak with loan charge victims. Newspapers are already intensifying the heat on the corrupt organisation. If offences have been committed by ANY staff, they need to face the harshest possible sentence as a deterrent against future public servants ever getting above themselves in a such a disgusting fashion. As the above contributor says so succinctly, scumbags.

  2. Do you think they'll give a 91 year old man time to pay?

  3. There seems to be a lot of very mentally disturbed, sick people working for HMRC nowadays.

    Clue: they get a huge thrill out of harassing people and hiding behind the "I'm just doing my job BS".

    The post office scandal is waking people up, there'll be no hiding place for the monstrous, corrupt scumbags at HMRC. Justice must prevail

    1. At last someone living in the real world. Totally concur: their behaviour is "disturbed" and "sick". Enough is enough. People are waking up. We live in a rules based society in the UK. If some HMRC employees have decided those rules aren't for them, then they should fear the legal consequences. In the process, those HMRC employees have done a great deal of harm to the department's reputation. Taxpayer trust is at an all-time low. And no decent people will work for HMRC, because they don't won't to be tainted by association.

    2. I'm glad that I'm not the only victim of HMRC.

      Those bastards bullied and harassed me and destroyed my career and life.

      I've lost my career, my home, my marriage and everything I'd built up over three decades since joining HMRC (Inland Revenue) at the age of 18.

      For the last two years, I've been dealing with lung inflammation which was identified on an unrelated scan. As yet, the doctors haven't been able to diagnose the cause and I live in fear of it being lung cancer. Whatever, I blame the stress caused by HMRC's corruption.

      The fight to settle this major injustice will continue until the perpetrators are dealt with.

    3. To everyone who has suffered from HMRC abuse, taxpayers and staff, you have my sympathy and I pray that you find peace and comfort.
      My partner used to work for them and had a full mental breakdown as a consequence of bullying. HMRC have never apologised for what they did.

      Please do talk to someone, anyone, if you are suffering:
      Samaritans 0808 164 0123
      SaneLINE 0300 304 7000
      CALM 0800 585858

      In an emergency, always contact your GP or call 999.

      I understand your pain. HMRC are the definition of evil. You are valued; you are not alone.

    4. HMRC is very clearly not "the definition of evil" by any sane or rational criteria.
      Perhaps you should contact SaneLINE.

    5. Spoken like an indoctrinated HMRC employee 🤒🥜💊

    6. 8 February 2024 23:49
      The author of that comment is without doubt an HMRC employee. It's in the DNA of toxic people at HMRC to mock the subject of mental health. They have form for it.

      Please do ignore the troll.

    7. I am neither an HMRC employee or a troll.
      Like all large organisations HMRC will have a percentage of nasty people in it, that much is a statistical inevitability.
      However, it is not a reincarnation of the SS manned by murderous psychopaths intent on destroying the lives of innocent people which is what anyone reading your hysterical, hyperbolic nonsense might infer.

    8. I am not an HMRC employee either, but I do have the ability to read and understand independent reports, and prefer to be guided by them than a person who is clearly lucky enough to have had a good experience with HMRC and isn't capable of being objective.

      For the avoidance of doubt, the Laura Whyte report (former John Lewis HR Director) commissioned by HMRC concluded:-

      "That HMRC in some cases upholds lower standards of behaviour than society at large would tolerate".

      That sounds more serious than a "percentage of nasty people" working at HMRC. A vile culture by all accounts,

    9. I worked in a large hmrc office for three years. The bullying was like nothing I had seen or experienced before or since. I spent the last 2 years of that time throwing up every day before work. I now work as a retail security officer. There is little stress compared to putting up with bitter, hostile colleagues at HMRC. I know lots of other people who left hmrc because the bullying. I don't believe those who live in denial regarding the rotten culture at hmrc

    10. 11/2/24@18.30.
      As stated in my previous post I am not an employee of HMRC but was up until my retirement in 2014.
      I am well aware of the many shortcomings of the department but one of the reasons I post on here is as a counterbalance to some of the totally OTT comments by others. In particular our resident eccentric who claims that HMRC are still trying to kill him even though he no longer works for them. He also has a huge dossier of HMRC illegal behaviour which he won't give to the police for reasons never adequately explained. He also cowardly names individuals on here fully aware that If still employed by HMRC they can't respond.
      The first time I posted on this site (naively not anonymously) was to point out that not every single supervisor/manager in a department of some 60,000 people is a bullying psychopath. The subsequent pile-on was something to behold. As well as general abuse (the 'c' word being frequently used) I was also accused of sexually abusing colleagues, both female and male, and taking bribes off the accountancy profession. All from people complaining about HMRC bullying - no irony there!

      Your point about the Laura Whyte report is valid, however I would make one comment. If the senior management were all evil bullies would they have commissioned the report and then published it's findings.

    11. @18:30
      You're on the right track about the Laura Whyte report into HMRC's working culture.

      Why didn't Whyte do a follow up report to see if her recommendations had been implemented?

      Clearly, HMRC expected her to play the game and never anticipated that she would discover such a horrific workplace in the first place and blocked her return visit.

    12. The above comment is from Mark, Kevin or Anthony - names that have been connected with bullying in the past

    13. I don't think retired HMRC staff who were part of the bullying problem in the past should 'contribute' to this conversation.

      You're collecting a taxpayer funded pension from HMRC, enjoy your retirement for goodness sake, but let the injured heal without your brown nosing. Old habits, hey.

    14. Found this site from a post on social media.

      I worked for HMRC in the 2000s. Was mistreated by a spiteful junior grade manager and finally left owing to her bullying.

      Knew nothing of the independent investigation into HMRC workplace until today. Wish Laura White talked with past victims.

      Some troll appears to be implying bullying is rare at HMRC = NOT TRUE !!
      I am one of thousands for people affected by it.

  4. Large, top-down organisations, with no checks or balances, turn into monsters. See USSR, see HMRC.

    At least in the 1980s each town had a local Inland Revenue office.

    1. Charlotte Giffin at The Telegraph is doing a fantastic job of forensically examining HMRC's behaviour.

      Anyone posting on here with inside knowledge of HMRC corruption should contact her at The Telegraph.

    2. As corruption in public office is a criminal offence why not miss out the media and go straight to the police? Of course the police will require actual evidence rather than opinion or gossip.

    3. Since when have any public officials at HMRC ever been prosecuted for corruption?
      All squeaky clean are they? It must be lovely be so green. The truth is HMRC appear above the law and are skilled at covering it up.
      You may not like it, but it is going to take media scrutiny to bring those scumbags to justice.

    4. I'm not in the slightest bit 'green'.
      But I do recognise that there is a world of difference between somebody doing something that you don't like or agree with and that something meeting the legal definition of corruption.

    5. I worked at HMRC in Cardiff and suffered some bullying there.

      I was so desperate to get out that I left a short time before the end of my fixed term appointment and lost redundancy money. Tried everything beforehand. Complaints were dealt with lightly by management (of course). Union rep was little to no help.
      Wrote to an MP after I left. They wrote to senior management and HMRC just lied and denied everything and that was the end of that.
      Approached a solicitor to make a claim for constructive dismissal. It's difficult to prove these allegations and HMRC has taxpayer funded legal counsel, so no dice.
      I started having serious health problems whilst working there having previously been a fit and healthy person in general. Suffered with PTSD for several years afterwards. My counsellor was almost shaking with anger as I shared by trauma. (Btw - I wondered how many counsellors have supported HMRC victims across the UK)
      HMRC are unbelievable. What an eye-opener that experience was.

    6. I worked for more than 15 employers, big and small, during my working lifetime, including HMRC.
      I have to admit the bullying problem in the organisation is the WORST of seen anytime. It's cruel. It's cowardly. I'm a 6ft 3 guy in his 60s and would have preferred to sort things out in the car park. Most of the bullies at HMRC are sad, lonely people, who need to keep up with their meds. Sick in the head they are .

  5. I don't agree, it's ALWAYS been a Law unto itself with a revolving door of gravy train senior management

    1. That's your opinion. I don't know your qualifications to speak on HMRC conduct, but the question would be: if it has ALWAYS been a Law Unto Itself, why haven't whistleblowers stepped forward in greater numbers?

      Is it anything to do with the way in which HMRC crushes and ruins truth tellers within its ranks? If so (and from everything I have seen, heard and read, that appears to be the case), should individual staff (past & present) be investigated and prosecuted for Misconduct in Public Office?

      The rogue operators within HMRC think nothing of turning innocent people's lives upside down. It's about time they faced serious consequences.

    2. Thank you for sharing your experience; words don't express how awful I feel for you and the anger I feel towards those who should have stopped this disgraceful string of events. I hope you find peace and strength to put this behind you.
      I've worked in the Dept for many years and have come across bullies so many times, unfortunately the issue is rarely tackled effectively without getting senior managers onboard.
      No one is trained properly anymore for anything - and gone are the days when there was face to face assertiveness training. For a while there was money spent on understanding how teams worked and personnel strengths, in terms of training. I even got to do a residential course entitled "The Manager as Counsellor" which was invaluable.
      From training to performance management - it seems that the very infrastructure of HMRC is now a place that manufacturers bullies by default. Changing the grievance process alone isn't going to help unless every work initiative is based in staff welfare first.

  6. Genuine question - how sick is HMRC?

    Feels like it's now in the incapable hands of a bunch of nutters 🤒

    1. When I worked for HMIT, Inland Revenue, in the 1990s, the overwhelming majority of my colleagues were bright and well educated and had a high degree of integrity.

      Fast forward to 2024, and I'm well aware of multiple scandals swirling around HMRC. The absence of integrity speaks for itself.

      They're more concerned with cultivating a good but fake social media image than the reputation they've acquired with real people who have real experience of them. Poor customer service, 'phone lines closed, the loan charge scandal, gongs for failed senior staff, current and former employees left damaged by some pretty nasty treatment (just read HMRC staff reviews on major recruitment sites).

      As a tax agent who engages with the department often, I now find that HMRC staff are untrained and unmotivated, and too many are somewhat intellectually challenged by, what should be seen as, the most basic of queries.

      Gordon Brown's merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise is at the root of the problem. HMRC has been a disaster from inception.

      As the report into it's workplace culture a few years ago concluded, the acceptance of low level misconduct risks more significant problems. I believe we've already seen such problems.

      What should be done? Simple - abolish HMRC and start again with a new, independent tax agency.

    2. And how would you define an "independent" tax agency?
      Perhaps one run by the whiter than white accountancy profession?

    3. "The absence of integrity speaks for itself".

      Quite so. Most staff in the modern HMRC would be unemployable in the real world. Unscrupulous and lazy.

  7. I agree.