I thought the most frustrating thing about the Panorama programme this week was HMRC's refusal to appear and my take on this is that they just do not care.
Last year I wrote to David Gauke and George expressing my frustration with HMRC and the fact that it was a false economy getting rid of trained staff and replacing them with call centre staff who know very little about tax (not their fault). I provided them with many (no named) examples of situations where taxpayers had submitted employment expenses claims for exam fees, courses, new computer etc etc. These claims had merely been processed and incorrect refunds issued to the taxpayer. I made the point that in the few examples I had given, the refunds amounted to several £000's and they could no doubt multiply this by however many. The point being that they need to get their own house in order and collect the right amount of tax.
I eventually got a reply saying thanks for my letter and HMRC will aim to do better - 1 paragraph!! In order words we do not care.
Over the last few months I have also encountered several occassions when clients have historical earnings over £150k and have been given the tax-free personal allowance in their 12/13 PAYE coding notices. This is despite the PA not being in the 11/12 codes and the 10/11 tax returns showing income >£150k. When I expressed my concerns as to how this could possibly arise - oh it must be a computer error!! Also there are not coding notices on the agent gateway half the time so there are clearly computer issues.
Whilst the tax will be paid by via the 12/13 tax return, my point is this will not be until Jan 14 so UK Plc cash flow is suffering and we are borrowing the money to fund this. Also what about when taxpayers leave the UK in this situation. The tax will never been seen again.
My view of HMRC is that they do not care a jot. From the points raised above to the billions of pounds written off following incorrect tax credit awards. They need to get their own house in order. they would not need all these headline grabbibg 'TASK FORCEs' if they got the basics right.
Yes a bit of a rant but maybe if we get the basics right the coffers might be a little fuller.