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.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

HMRC Re-organisation Gets Mixed Reaction

Here is a recent article by Nick Huber, published in Accountingweb, in which I have made a wee comment.

HMRC has re-structured about every year since it was created in 2005. Will this one improve the service for taxpayers?
Accountants reckon that HMRC latest re-organisation may finally improve the service to taxpayers and reduce bureaucracy. But will any gains be undermined by a shortage of staff at HMRC after tens of thousands of job cuts?

In October, HMRC’s four directorates will be reduced to three: Customer strategy and tax design, customer service and customer compliance:
  • The customer strategy and tax design group will be led by director general for business tax, Jim Harra. He will manage customer strategy, tax policy, process design and tax assurance teams. This group will manage customer service staff as well as specialist personal tax teams and “product and process” staff
  • A customer service group, run by current director general for customer services, Ruth Owen, will manage HMRC’s operational teams
  • A customer compliance group, led by director general for enforcement and compliance, Jennie Granger, will be responsible for compliance and enforcement work across HMRC, including the large business operation
Mike Down, head of tax investigations at RSM, told AccountingWEB that HMRC’s re-organisation would probably improve the service for taxpayers, although it may be about two years before the benefits start.
“[HMRC] is trying to really focus on customers,” he said. “I think it’s a simplification of the structure and they are trying to bring together teams that are engaged in similar work and hopefully by doing that they can improve the speed of response.”

Down said that the new customer compliance group, was part of an effort to strengthen HMRC’s tax compliance teams, which check that taxpayers are paying the correct tax.

HMRC has pooled resources in compliance and created specialist teams, focusing on sectors of the economy or types of taxpayer − such as tax avoidance by rich people (the ‘high net worth unit’).

HMRC’s new structure could help it get the full benefit of new powers, such as against offshore evasion. Meanwhile, the move to a digital tax system by 2020 may reduce some of the administrative strain (and backlog of tax cases), it’s hoped, allowing HMRC more time to improve its service.

Jonathan Riley, head of tax, at Grant Thornton UK, said: “Whilst we await detail, it is encouraging that HMRC seems to be focusing on strategy and design, suggesting HMRC may have greater connectivity with policy formulation than has been the case in recent years. This move combined with the Office of Tax Simplification being placed on a statutory basis suggests we may be moving into an era where we consider designing a tax regime that that works with and for business, allowing them to unlock growth and help create a vibrant economy.”

Union concerns

But other experts doubted whether the re-organisation would do much good.

A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents HMRC workers, said that although it supported attempts to improve tax compliance and customer service, it wouldn’t solve what it said was one of HMRC’s main problems – too few staff.

HMRC has cut its workforce by about 45% since 2005, from 105,000 employees to 57,000, according to the PCS.
More job cuts are planned. By 2021, HMRC has estimated that it will employ 16% fewer people then now, most of whom will work in 13 regional centres.

“[HMRC] can re-organise all they like but if they don’t have enough staff they won’t be able to do a proper job,” the PCS spokesman said.

Poor service

Customer service levels collapsed between 2014 and 2015 because HMRC underestimated demand for its telephone service and reduced customer service capacity by cutting 5,600 jobs, the Public Accounts Committee said in July.

Average call waiting times tripled compared with previous levels, transferring an unreasonable cost to taxpayers, MPs on the parliamentary committee said, although it said that the service has improved since then.

Ken Frost, a chartered accountant and acerbic critic of HMRC, said that he didn’t think HMRC’s re-organisation would work because it was trying to do too many things at once – including digitising the tax system, cutting costs and staff and extending its telephone service.

Frost said that that a cabinet minister should be made solely responsible for HMRC.

Re-organisation fatigue

Some MPs want clarification about HMRC’s re-organisation.

Earlier in September, Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the treasury committee, wrote to Jon Thompson, HMRC's chief executive and permanent secretary, to query the justification for another re-organisation of the government department.

"On Tuesday, I pointed out that HMRC had been reorganised to some degree nearly once a year on average,” Tyrie said. “The last one was in November 2015. On Wednesday, they announced another one.”
During the Treasury Committee hearing on the UK's tax policy and tax base (on 6 September) Bill Dodwell, head of policy at Deloitte, said that HMRC had re-organised about a dozen times since the Inland Revenue merged with Customs & Excise in 2005.

“That sounds like quite a lot. Have there been too many reorganisations, how is this affecting you as a recipient of their product, and are they getting their objectives and priorities right?"

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Monday, 26 September 2016

I Robot


As per a loyal reader, it appears that the robots are coming:
"The SMS text messages are only the beginning. I work for the twats called HMRC in the robotics team and they are planning on robots answering the calls to replace call centre staff jobs. Its already done on self serve time to pay and instalment arrangements, but the wider hmrc will have this roll out, oh and the fuck up that windows 10 is coming to hmrc."
This will end in tears!

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Osborne's Complex Tax Legacy


Osborne once (2007) called for the tax system to be simpler, in 2010 he set up the Office of Tax Simplification.

Fast forward to the 2016 Finance Act and we see nothing simpler, but in fact an additional 649 pages of complex tax legislation on top of the 11,000-plus pages already in existence

The ICAEW Tax Faculty estimates that during his tenure as Chancellor, Osborne was responsible for 3,896 additional pages of tax legislation.
Some legacy!

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

PAC Warns HMRC Not To Risk Collapse In Service


PAC has warned HMRC not to risk a “collapse in customer service” (it's not "customers" it's "taxpayers"!) by understaffing its phone lines amid expectations that a digital revamp of its services will produce cost savings.

As per the FT, PAC urged HMRC not to “underestimate the demand for telephone contact” from taxpayers as it attempts to cut the cost of its personal tax services by 34% by 2020-21 to meet spending targets.

The report said the impact of staff cuts had caused taxpayers to spend “some four million hours waiting for HMRC to answer the phone” in the 2015-16 tax year, incurring call charges to its 0300 phone numbers while they were on hold. These numbers cost up to 45p per minute to call from a mobile, and 12p per minute from a landline.

The average time taxpayers spent on hold reached almost 35 minutes in one week in October 2015 — with almost 30 per cent of all calls unanswered last year as callers simply gave up.
Every £1 saved by HMRC on telephone services over this period [resulted] in an estimated £4 in extra costs to customers.”
In other words HMRC no longer cares about taxpayers, merely its own self interest!

Meg Hillier MP, chair of the PAC, said:
The prospect of HMRC making further cuts to spending on customer service will chill the blood of many taxpayers.” 
HMRC thinks that PAC is talking bollocks, it said the MPs’ report was an “inaccurate, out-of-date reflection of our phone performance”.
We acknowledge that service levels in the early part of last year were not acceptable and we apologised at the time.

But the PAC is well aware our phone lines have since fully recovered and we are now offering our best service levels in years. There’s never been a more convenient service for our customers.”
This will end in tears, not only does HMRC have to cut costs and make things digital it also has to fulfil Thompson's idiotic promise to man phone lines seven days a week 8am-8pm!

Good luck, all in all an impossible set of tasks!

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

HMRC Sends Threatening SMS Messages


HMRC has now resorted to sending threatening text message warnings to taxpayers. These massages state that they are being “monitored” to ensure they pay on time.

The Telegraph reports that over 13,000 taxpayers, who fill in self-assessment tax returns, have taken part in trials in which they have been sent SMS messages to remind them to pay tax on time. The taxpayers (who had previously been contacted by HMRC about their debt) received three types of message in a trial run by the Government’s ‘nudge’ unit or Behavioural Insights Team.

A report from the team said:
The ‘Standard’ SMS message simply alerted the recipient to the debt and told them how to pay. 

The ‘Monitoring’ message pointed out that HM Revenue and Customs would be monitoring whether the debt was paid in the following week. 

The ‘Penalties’ message included the phrase, ‘Most people pay on time to avoid penalties’.” 
Seemingly the ‘monitoring’ message raised payment rates by 3.8 percentage points, and the ‘penalties’ message by 7 percentage points, or 20 per cent in relative terms.

The group also targeted other late taxpayers with other text messages including one that reminded them of the deadline and saying “you were late last time”.

All very well and cheap to send no doubt. However, many taxpayers are more than a little on edge when they receive communications from HMRC. Whilst a volunteer group may react in a calm and compliant manner, the wider demographic of taxpayers who haven't volunteered for this may not be so docile when the scheme is unleashed nationwide.

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"

Monday, 19 September 2016

HMRC Called To Account


The book that many of you have been talking about over the past few days, Margaret Hodge's Called To Account: How Corporate Bad Behaviour and Government Waste Combine to Cost Us Millions (an account of her years as chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) between 2010 and 2015) has been reviewed by Chris Harmer on the LSE website.

As Trollope once said:
"It was too notorious that the civil service was filled by the family fools of the aristocracy and middle classes, and that any family, who had no fool to send, sent in lieu thereof, some invalid past hope. Thus the service had become a hospital for incurables and idiots."
Nothing changes!

Tax does have to be taxing.

Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations

Insurance to protect you against the cost of enquiry or dispute with HMRC is available from several sources including Solar Tax Investigation Insurance.

Ken Frost has negotiated a 10% discount on any polices that may suit your needs.

However, neither Ken Frost nor HMRCISSHITE either endorses or recommends their services.

What is Solar Tax Investigation Insurance?

Solar Tax Investigation Insurance is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.

To find out more, please use this link Solar Tax Investigation Insurance



HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"