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IR backlog

IR backlog

Over a month ago I sent our tax office a completed P46 for a new employee, together with a covering letter explaining that he was a US citizen was not going to be resident in the UK. The letter asked for confirmation that he was not therefore subject to UK tax.

Not having received a response, I called the tax office today to find out what was happening. I was told that it was far too soon for them to have dealt with it, they are about 10 weeks behind. They are currently dealing with the post received on 9 August (2002!).

I think this is disgraceful, but is it typical? I'm sure that you tax practitioners out there would never take nearly three months to respond to a letter from the revenue. And I'd be very surprised if they let you take that long without some rigourous chasing.

Meanwhile our employee is unneccesarily having to suffer tax on three more months' salary.

I understand that it isn't the fault of the individuals concerned and it's a resource issue, but I thought that the days of government departments providing such an atrocious service level were long gone. Winge over.

How widespread is this, and how do people cope with it?

Jonathan Taylor

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18th Feb 2003 15:28

Not liable to UK tax
Jonathan, are you sure your employee is not liable to UK tax? As a non-resident, they would still be liable on earnings relating to UK duties unless exempt under the US/UK Double Tax Treaty. If they are an employee of your US Parent Company then treaty relief MAY apply. In this case, you would need to confirm the criteria of the Treaty article were being met and would probably need to provide proof of ongoing US tax residence in addition.

Typically, the Inland Revenue do not like exempting the employer from PAYE under Double Tax Treaty provisions (as Articles 12/15 are in relation to the individual's income tax liability), especially once the employment has already started. The solution to this, and to waiting for inordinate lengths of time for Inland Revenue responses, is to establish a Short-Term Business Visitor's Agreement with them. I can help you with this, if necessary.

Nicki Reynolds
[email protected]

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05th Dec 2002 07:41

IR Backlog
The majority of our dealings are with our local
tax office in Bournemouth and I must say that
the quality of service is GREAT and we have few problems with delays etc!!!
What is a shock is when we have to deal with certain other tax offices - their quality of
service can be much poorer and we pity those who have to deal with them on a regular basis!!
Perhaps the Inland Revenue could ensure a consistently high level of service from ALL offices.

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05th Dec 2002 10:33

I have to agree with Mr Giles

The service from "my" two local tax offices is very good on the whole. So is that from Nottingham Trusts. There are terrible problems in some districts and in some specialist offices (and apparently insurmountable ones at NICO).

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By gbms
21st Nov 2002 09:53

Working Together responds
Thank you to everyone for all the great comments on this thread.

Having brought this matter to the attention of the Revenue, the Working Together team have launched a survey, asking for evidence of Revenue delays. See: Contacting the Revenue by Post.

I have emailed the team with this thread.

Press coverage about the story:
The Guardian, 23 Nov 2002
Sunday Times, 24 Nov 2002

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23rd Nov 2002 10:54

Must be kidding about serious delays!
Although I realise that most of you will be tired of tales about Revenue delays, I thought it might be of interest to note that I received a letter from the Inspector last week which opened with:

"I refer to your letter of 22nd January 2002 and apologise for the delay in replying. Your enquiry would appear to have been passed round the houses a little...."

I reckon the houses in question must be rather far away!

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By JSJ54
18th Nov 2002 10:50

FAO The Editor
This is not meant to be a facetious question, but did you ask the Revenue how long it will take them to reply?

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By SimonP
19th Nov 2002 08:56

Exception rather than the rule. But well done anyway!
I wholeheartedly endorse the comments in this thread that the Inland Revenue are far too slow in dealing with routine correspondence and frequently require chasing to provoke responses.
However, I am delighted to inform the world of accountancy of a phenomenon which I encountered recently.
On 31 October 2002, I posted seven R40 claim forms, covering a number of years, to Cornwall & Plymouth Area office.
Astonishingly, all repayments were in my office by 15 November. Totally accurate to the penny.
In this instance, I have nothing but praise for the IR.

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By SimonP
19th Nov 2002 10:14

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, bu
My practice is in Worthing, West Sussex which used to have 2 tax offices until Worthing 1 was closed a few years ago.
Worthing 2 has now fallen victim to Inland Revenue reorganisation and is part of Sussex Area. Please don't get me wrong, maybe reorganisation will be a good thing but so far the Inland Revenue have failed to inform practitioners about the changes and how they will affect us.
It is my custom to hand-deliver bulky envelopes to the Worthing tax office, which saves considerably on postage. Yesterday, I was informed that such post is sent to the tax office at St.Leonards (near Hastings), then to Horsham (Mid Sussex) and finally back to Worthing, which is where it was initially received.
It is hardly surprising that post takes so long to be answered or goes astray.
Maybe it is about time that the tax office staff staged a strike, not for more pay but for greater efficiency. After all, they have to bear the brunt of our anger and it is not necessarily their fault.
"The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare." (Daniel Moynihan)

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15th Nov 2002 22:00

wasted inland revenue time
Further to my own experiences

My wife who has not worked for several years due to a prior illness did some part time gardening work - only a few hours in total over several weeks during the summer in our local parks garden floral hall

It was more for love of gardening than money she earened less than £100 total.

The revenue are still invesitgaitng her!

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13th Nov 2002 15:51

Unacceptable delays!
I agree with many of the comments. The length of delay is just unacceptable but I am not convinced it will get better in the near future.

Reduced tax red tape is required - fast!

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13th Nov 2002 13:51

Working Together?
I heartily endorse ALL the comments made so far, and am glad to read that these are being passed to the Inland Revenue. For the second and even third years of SA there was a definite improvement in the efficiency of the Inland Revenue, but not any more. The call centres are a complete waste of time for agents, and it would surely be cost effective to give agents a dedicated line to enabe them to speak to a technically qualified person. It seems that the IR have staffed up for mass use of E-filing, which let's face it would take the pressure off them if only it worked. And whose idea is it to reorganise tax offices at any time of the year apart from February March and even April? Most accountancy businesses would not dream of embarking on anything so radical as an office move, reorganisation etc at any other time of year.

Good luck with the campaign - we need it, if only to keep our sanity.

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13th Nov 2002 11:40

Chaos following reorganisations
I feel that Gavin's experience may not be unusual. A significant amount of chaos appears to be caused by the working methods already described and by constant reorganisations.

I have dealt with an enquiry that started in September 2001 with a request that a huge volume of information relasting to almost every item on a quite complex return be provided within 6 weeks. The request arrived 8 days after the date of the letter! The request was met within a few days of the deadline. HMIT then took 13 weeks to reply!

During the course of the enquiry a letter allegedly sent to me did not reach me, and a letter I sent took 7 weeks after arriving in the district to arrive at the right desk! After these incidents I took to faxing every letter I posted.

The enquiry was concluded in June 2002 with an addition to profits of less than £500. A repair item had been inadvertently claimed twice.

The notice formally concluding the enquiry has been received this week more than 4 months after the enquiry was settled.

4 different inspectors (and they were inspectors) have dealt with the enquiry over a 12 month period. Total additional yield to the Revenue £190. Clients costs? 21 hours of my time, plus an equivalent amount of his own and other professional advisors time in dealing with the various requests for information from HMIT.

The enquiry was opened shortly after an earlier enquiry into 6 years returns had been concluded. The inspector opening the enquiry into the later year purported to know nothing of the earlier years enquiries, when opening his enquiry, and said he would not close it when I suggested to him that the second enquiry was unlikely to reveal anything - given the thorough review of all matters that had taken place in the first enquiry.

On another case, with the same district, when complaining of delay of over three months in HMIT replying to a letter I was told by the Inspector working the case that in addition to their own case load they also had responsibility for reviewing the progress and quality of 8,000 working cases in their region. Since this would be an impossible task for anyone, if it is typical, perhaps that explains some of the "quality" issues we see mentioned on enquiry cases.

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13th Nov 2002 09:39

IR Dont even followup on their own enquiry's
The IR began an corp tax enquiry over a year ago, have reassigned the case to 4 different inspectors, none of which will take control of the case! They seem unwilling to make any movement let alone conclude it one way or another - IT IS A JOKE!

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12th Nov 2002 16:42

Delays
I used to work in the IR so i know both sides. Head Office brought in Team working, and took away the little bit or responsibility ROs had, the move to these new super districts exacerbates the problem as the post can be sent anywhere in the area. Reminders are useless as it will never go to the person whose desk the original is on unless it was dealt with by an inspector, which is unlikley.
another problem is the length of time it takes to have a letter typed in the Revenue, three weeks wasn't unusual when i was there.
I think the new call centre system is designed specifically to wind the profession up. If an agent is calling then in all probability they have a specific query that requires the file, someone 40 miles away doesn't have that, or access to the recent(!!!) post. The system doesn't work, and the move towards these new complex taxpayer districts proves the point.
I've had one client where the 2001 Return was processed about 10 weeks after submission, a letter with a correction was dealt with incorrectly twice (still not resolved)despite the original letter including a comp of the tax due. The CTD now has the file but not the post relating to this matter and the 2002 Return is missing in action! C'mon Sir Nick get your act together and if you can't move over and let someone who can.

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12th Nov 2002 17:04

IR Baclog
I had a case where a client operating within the Construction Industry Scheme had a four month wait for CIS voucher booklets despite the Inland Revenue being chased on a daily basis - a letter of complaint to the District Inspector did not even merit acknowledgement let alone an apology.

... and yet the Inland Revenue still expect responses to their enquiries within thirty days.

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12th Nov 2002 09:56

Inland Revenue delays
Having read the comments posted I felt I must add my own. Like others I have done this work for many years and cannot recall so many delays.

Our clients are mainly dealt with by offices in the Leicestershire and Warwickshire area and the same problems arise. Many months delay before returns are processed, letters that are never answered, forms that go missing, and distraint action taken by the collector even though returns have been submitted which show no further payment is due. In recent months more returns seem to have been dealt with but it is significant that none of these was submitted after 30th September. I am dreading the January payslips as so many will be incorrect!

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11th Nov 2002 17:36

a sorry state of affairs
what a sorry state of affairs - we all thought we had problems but collectively it is nightmare - who gains the dear old I Rev.

We need to consider a change of approach why not e-mail Presidente Blair or Prescott (look what his intervention has done for the firemen) does anyone know their e-mail address??

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11th Nov 2002 18:15

Oh Joy!
I thought that the Inland Revenue were just punishing me personally. I see from all the comments that everyone else has the same problems. It makes me feel better - if not optimistic.

I believe that the Tax System is very near to collapse, but, as an interim measure, the very least that the Inland Revenue should do is to tell their "Debt Recovery Units" to lay off! It is causing unneccesary distress to clients, who immediately jump to the conclusion that it is our fault that they are being threatened for money that they do not owe.

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12th Nov 2002 04:43

Banging one's head against a wall causes less grief.
I have been trying to agree a Sch D net liability for 92/93, 93/94, 94/95, & 95/96 since 1997. I am becoming literally tired of initiating new threads of correspondence with HMIT. I feel that the multiple employments involved in those years give the poor dears a headache.
Now that the leaves have fallen from the trees, I suppose it’s about time to have another try.
I get the impression that when one of the IR computer systems is changed data is often lost.
Were I less honest I could be tempted to forget about the matter.

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12th Nov 2002 11:19

Inland Revenue Delays
I have been trying to sort out an estate of a client. This involved error and mistake claims going back to 1996/97. The 2001 self assessment return was submitted in January 2002 together with the claims. The 2001 return was logged by the Inland Revenue and processed, but no actions was taken on the claims. Numerous phone calls later I was asked to resubmit the claims because they could not find them. In June they finally processed the claims, but still got two of the back years wrong. In July, I wrote regarding those years. After waiting for two months, I rang the call centre regarding the correspondence, only to be told that the current delays were running at 8-9 weeks. This week I received a revised calculation for one of the years, but still nothing for the earlier year.

I am an ex Inspector. We would have been crucified if we had post that was older than 1 month. The service from the Inland Revenue if definitely on the downward slid.

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12th Nov 2002 09:12

64-8s
We also have experienced many cases where the original 64-8 details have not been posted by the Inland Revenue on to the client's record and of course the people now employed at the call centres ahave no access to files, nor any inclination to located them. Have they all been destroyed? If a company gave such poor "CUSTOMER" service, that customer would take their business else where... wonder if the IRS......?

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12th Nov 2002 11:46

Mentality
The situation is exacerbated by the civil service mentality. I have just this week received a refund of some £200 + supplement that relates to 1999/2000. This is a result of several telephone calls and letters to the tax office, responding to their letters telling me that nothing was wrong and asking me for details of the payments that I claimed to have made when these are shown on statements issued by them. I asked for the case to be referred to an inspector but this was ignored. I then made a formal complaint against the tax officer who had refused the refund and this has resulted in a refund and a letter of apology from an inspector.

The point here is that an enormous amount of my time has been wasted, as well as the Revenue officer's time and, ultimately, the inspector's time. The reason for all of this wasted time is the Revenue officer's incompetence and uncaring attitude. How else can it be described?

While they are wasting time on cock-ups of their own making they are falling even further behind with correspondence.

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11th Nov 2002 14:12

Backlog for refunds, not collection
We act for a husband and wife. The husband owes £2000 2nd payment on account. The wife is due a refund in excess of £4000. We submitted the wife's return on 15th August. It apparently was logged on 9th September.
The collector was chasing the husband for payment so we phoned the tax office on 1st October and were told they were processing up to 8th August. The collector was harrying the husband depite being asked to wait until the refund was paid.
We called again the first week in November and were told that they were 'as far as' 16th August.
The collector is threatening the husband now with Baliffs, and the wife's tax office has processed 8 days in nearly 5 weeks.
What is going to happen when we all submit the majority of our Returns in December and January?

May I say that this is not an isolated occurance, just the latest!

Colin Dunn

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11th Nov 2002 12:58

Is this a record
I wrote to our local tax office on 30 November 2001 to repair a clients tax return. The letter disclosed untaxed interest which had been ommitted from thier returns for 1997/98 1998/99 and 1999/00.


I have had a reply from the Tax office dated 7 November 2002!!

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11th Nov 2002 14:45

Lost post
I have found that the Revenue, in the large number of cases lose the letters and the accompanying documentation. I then have to fax through copies in order for the matter to be resolved. The Revenue always seem to have a log of when the correspondance is received but it then goes missing. Where does all of this missing post go to? Is there a post mountain similar to the EEC butter mountain?

This takes up time and resources to continue faxing through copies of correspondance and this in turn is passed on to the client. I am sure if the Revenue went back to officers having specific allocations of tax payers then this problem would not arise. But that would then bring on the issue of accountability and that is another subject altogether......

One thing I have found over the recent months, where my clients are dealt with by the Complex Personal Return Team, the turnaround in post and processing of Returns has been very quick and accurate. I shall wait to see if the number of S9a enquiries increases for clients dealt with by these offices.

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11th Nov 2002 14:49

Tax Return processing delays
We are finding that tax returns are taking, on average, in excess of 3 months to be processed this tax year, but there are instances commonly occuring where the Inland Revenue are threatening distraint via local Collection Offices on liabilities which are not due & for which they have been sitting on the completed and unprocessed tax return for a long time. The number of times this has happened this year are too numerous to quantify.

It is clear that the Inland Revenue's resources are such that there is an alarming resource imbalance between compliance and investigation work. It also is clear that policy decisions are starting to have an adverse effect on the efficiency of the Inland Revenue.

When you have experienced people at the Inland Revenue referring to some colleagues as "monkeys", then clearly all is not well!

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11th Nov 2002 15:51

Inland Revenue delays
I was not surprised by the comments of others about the Inland Revenue delays. I have had to submit 2 forms SA303 to reduce the revised 2002 instalments for both clients in a partnership, as the first ones went by post and could not be located. The second ones were handed in, together with forms 64-8. The client obtained a receipt. Despite this, one of the forms 64-8 was then "lost". In other cases, with Maidstone 1 and Wey Valley, we have been told that they are about 3 months behind - although we were waiting for a response to a July letter (the comment was that it had probably been lost by Royal Mail!).

I have been in practice since 1989 and cannot remember it ever being as bad as it is at the moment. Having said that, a few districts do appear to be fairly prompt - Reading Kennetside and High Wycombe being two of them.

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By norstar
11th Nov 2002 14:20

Two years long enough?
While we are on the topic, we had an ongoing investigation into a clients affairs and wrote to the inspector in July 2000. We finally received a reply requesting more information and in some cases, the same information that the first letter dealt with. The date of the reply? October 2002. The client has unfortunately since died but this hasn't stopped the inpsector from asking personal questions. The fastest respinse from this Inspector has been four months!

On other day to day tax, I too have encountered a few situations where Revenue owe more than is owed by a connected party but because of these enormous delays, have chased and chased payment and taken six months to refund money.

Frankly whilst it is a resource issue, the government should take much of the blame for introducing the masses of paperwork that lead the Revenue being behind anyway.

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07th Nov 2002 20:36

revenue communication problems
My tax return is fairly simple - but the forms seem to get more complex eaxh year

I always submit returns promptly, and usually telephone to check safe receiopt and whether there any queries

I pay all demands promptly.

I usually get a significant demand/rebate followed shortly after by a fresh large but unrelated demand/rebate

Then I get a demand for zero payment
usually followed by a rebate cheque of zero

My tax code then follows to tell me I have unpaid tax that will be consolidated into the next year code

After 3 years or so, just as I get some common understanding with the revenue my tax office is moved to a different district.

How is anyone supposed ot manage hteir finances on that basis.

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By Anonymous
06th Nov 2002 17:31

Taking this a step further
Is Accountingweb going to publicise the situation revealed in these replies where it hurts the powers that be?

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By JSJ54
07th Nov 2002 10:11

Is someone taking the p***?
I posted this on Nov 1:
I have recently complained about a local office to the Revenue's Regional Office who have told me that it will take between six to eight weeks for them to reply!

This morning I received a letter from the Regional Office, acknowledging my letter dated Oct 10 saying "unfortunately, because of the amount of work on hand, it may be 10 weeks before we can let you have a full response".

FOURTEEN WEEKS to answer a complaint. What hope is there?

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06th Nov 2002 11:09

Revenue's Backlog in Birmingham
Toward the end of June I wrote to one of the Birmingham area offices concerning a minor adjustment required to a client's tax code. By 6 November the client was unhappy that no amendment had been made and assumed that we had not done anything!

Upon telephoning the office concerned I was informed that they were currently dealing with May's post and in some cases even earlier items! The officer did offer to look for our letter but to save time agreed to make the amendment from information given over the telephone.

The moral seems to be don't bother writing unless you are unable to speak to the correct person!

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05th Nov 2002 18:09

IR Backlog
I have been working on my own in the accountancy industry for some thirteen years, and I have never known the IR be so slow to repsond to letters and self-assesment lodgements.

It is understandable though. Here in the North West they have merged some five tax offices into one. The call centre telephone number for the North West is the same number for calls in the Merseyside region. Pure bedlam! Agents calling the public number to be able to speak to the inspector. Pathetic!

It is however heartening for me to know that I am not the only person who is suffering because of the current IR problems.

The most distressing thing for me is having to wait for up to four months for client refunds. As a previous agent has stated, it plays havoc with your cashflow.

I have advised clients to respond to the IR in person stating that the IR would not accept such a delay from a taxpayer. They have put their complaint in writing and telephoned the officer in charge of the district. Their response has been swift and sympathetic.

I must admit that I am now getting to the point were I would rather work at the local Asda. At least there would be less stress, and it will probably be run in a more professional manner.

Thanks for reading, at least I have got it off my chest.

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05th Nov 2002 12:59

What backlog?
Up here in the sunny north of England,the local Tax Offices deal with everything within the 28/30 days stipulated in the Taxpayers Charter and there are no delays whatsoever.Fantastic.

Only kidding!!

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By chimmy
04th Nov 2002 17:24

recorded delivery letters
not even recorded delivery letters to HMIT get
a response.I have recently sent 2 to different
Tax Offices but "radio silence" still prevails.

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04th Nov 2002 17:59

compalin to higher authority
The delays outlined are, unfortunately, not unusual. However, it is not only the time it takes but also how effective the action is eventually taken by the revenue.

My suggestion (it worked very well for me I now have framed letters of apology) is to complain to the director of your area. Mine is Central England. Whilst they wil refer it back to a local area it is nevertheless flagged in "their system!!!!!" You will be surprised how quickly thinhs then start to happen. BUT YOU MUST PERSIST

DAVID HILL

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By barneyq
04th Nov 2002 18:57

IR backlog
It was good to see that a document review was strung out by the Inspector for only 8 months with no correspondence.

I have an LBO who has not replied for 24 months is that a record?

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By Anonymous
05th Nov 2002 10:04

Responses from Tax Offices
For the record, I telephoned Tees Valley Service Area office yesterday, 4 November, to chase up a refund only to be told that they are dealing with post received on 6 August at the moment. This is clearly an unacceptable delay.

I feel the problem is being compounded however by the fact that it is so difficult to get through to the reorganised tax offices on the phone. After redialing say 20 or 25 times to ask for a change to a client's notice of coding, and still getting the engaged tone, I very often give up, and write a letter instead, to get the file off the desk.

Getting hold of the Collector in Shipley on the phone seems to be impossible.

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01st Nov 2002 18:15

Mass Protest
Sadly, being nice and polite will get nowhere. While I appreciate the work done by the professional institutions, I fear that their efforts will get nowhere on this problem. One thought is a mass protest by a substantial group of practitioners.

This could take the form of hundreds or thousands of individual complaints to the Adjudicator, with copies of the complaint sent to both the Revenue and the local MP.

A press release of what is being done could then be sent to the national press.

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By JSJ54
01st Nov 2002 21:14

Count me in
I have had enough.

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By ACDWebb
04th Nov 2002 14:46

Delays
I have recently received a note from Cumbernauld, approx 28 days after my original letter, apologising for the fact that due to backlogs it was thought unlikely that a response would be given for at least 8 weeks.

Having left IR myself many moons ago now I my sympaties have eroded slowly but surely over the years. However, from conversations that I have had with various offices in recent months it does seem that most in the Revenue are are just as concerned by the backlogs arising. These seem to have arisen with the constant merging of offices into huge areas into which post goes and is then sprayed around to different groups within the area such that the right hand ends up not knowing what the left is doing.

Today saw yet another morning of calls to numerous different numbers trying to track down where files had ended up in a merge and someone who would accept responsibility for the case and try to provide an answer (sadly not forthcoming because the IR computer was down). This is similarly frustrating in tryin to keep timecosts down

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By Anonymous
04th Nov 2002 15:58

IR backlog and PAYE
And I thought Self Assessment was meant to FREE UP resources!

More to the point, I think the questioner should be aware that his employee WILL be subject to UK PAYE on duties performed in the UK, despite being non UK domiciled and not resident in the UK.

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By RimBoy
04th Nov 2002 11:32

Delays
In Birmingham Office it's more like 10-12 weeks. This is seriously affecting Repayments, and my cashflow!

The whole system is grinding to a halt.

A return rejected by ELS and snt by post 10 weeks ago has not yet been processed, and the client is hassling me for his £1800 repayment..........

I am very fed up..................

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04th Nov 2002 12:29

Post passed to "crisis unit"
I put in a simple claim for expenses on 12 August 2002 to Merry Hill 1 District on behalf of a client on PAYE who does not even receive a Tax Return.

The letter included the usual schedule as in previous years along with a calculation of the tax repayment due...what could be simpler?

No reply.......sent chasing letter 7 October 2002.....no reply!

Received this morning Tax Calculation & Re-payment (for just £32.50!) that made no reference whatsoever to the expenses claim...(I guess an overdeduction by his employer)

Rang tax office....advised that all post for August was sent to another office...a crisis unit...as they had such a back-log.

The Revenue are quick enough to charge our clients if they are a day late with their Returns or tax payments!!

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04th Nov 2002 12:37

Correspondence sent to The Inalnd Revenue
In my recent experience, they don't just not reply but deny ever receiving the mail in the first place. This can be accepted in isolated cases but not in as many as the Revenue say they've not received say in the 12 months. There have been numerous instances where I have to fax further copies of my correspondence as their response to my reminders is that they haven't received the originals.

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04th Nov 2002 13:49

Why??
I myself have experienced the same problems which seem to have been caused mainly by the Inland Revenue reorganisations taking place all over the country.

From explanations given by friendly individuals via 0845 numbers and even from real live people at my local office, the ludicrous situation has become as clear as it is ever likely to be!

It seems that any letter or envelope that is addressed to 'The Inland Revenue' is intercepted by the postman and sent to, in my case, Cardiff as the main office of the South Wales district even though I sent it to Pontypool as the client lives there!

The sorting 'people' at Cardiff then check to see which 'satellite' office is least busy. The letter is sent there - could be Brecon, could be Newport or Merthyr Tydfil - who cares!! An officer there replies to that letter (obviously it has taken 3 months to get to this stage) and the reply is sent to the agent. Agent replies to letter which is diverted to Cardiff and sent to whichever office is least busy now. What are the chances that it is sent to the same office as last time and the same individual reads the letter??

What was wrong with the old system where local offices dealt with local cases?? Surely reorganisation causes delays but why introduce a system that, by its very nature of moving paper around different parts of the area and having no one individual responsible for queries, will cause delays anyway??

I feel sorry for the people who work at the Revenue now and have to put up with 'grief' from agents and clients alike! Why the hell would I want to join them??

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04th Nov 2002 16:22

More delays
We have experienced delays also. One client, a repayment claim for a pensioner, was submitted on 25 June and still no refund. On contacting the Revenue the individual who I spoke to actually hung up (a formal complaint has been sent to the relevant office - who are dealing). In addition other refunds have been passed from one office to another. How is it We can have a distraint notice for a client being a week behind in paying their PAYE (yes 1 week!) and yet wait over 4 months for a refund. I could go on....
On talking to various indiviuals at our 'local' tax office they do seem to be under a considerable amount of pressure and I don't feel that its their fault. They seem to be way short of the resources they need to carry out their work combined with the human nature factor of 'we'll file our return later'. Unfortunately we are incurring time etc in trying to sort out these problems which we feel cannot really be passed onto the client - its not their fault. Equally its not ours. We are now logging Revenue time, as we call it, and draw the IR's attention to our cost codes in correspondence. Where we still have problems we invoice via the client to gain compensation (which has seen results but this is not a cure). Maybe compensation costs will make them act!

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01st Nov 2002 11:56

Complain
This situation is at variance with published Inland Revenue leaflets, Codes of Practice and Manuals (see my Newthwire No.12 on Complaints and Compensation). 28 days should be the maximum period for a reply to a letter.

It is clear that individual tax officers are not at fault, but the situation will never be remedied unless complaints are made at the highest levels and publicity is given to the situation nationally. This issue can not be glossed over by Government and Revenue 'spin'.

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By JSJ54
01st Nov 2002 13:27

Going round in circles
I have recently complained about a local office to the Revenue's Regional Office who have told me that it will take between six to eight weeks for them to reply!


The Government get away with this inefficiency because the total picture is only ever seen by the Government itself. John, how do you suggest it is publicised?

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01st Nov 2002 07:35

This is extremely typical for 2001/02
I have found that response times for this years crop of returns and correspndence has become intolerably worse.

In my part of West London, processing of returns at our local offices - Ealing, Hammersmith, Wembley was ceased and shipped off to the new Tees Valley Area mega district.

The staff there are always polite and helpful but response times are unbelieveably bad. We know this for a fact because lots of our work is CIS-repayment style smull stuff and we keep wall charts to track progress from submission to repayment.

Average in 2001 was 4 to 6 weeks, this year 3 months!

Even now, they said to me to today they are dealing with post from Mid-September.

Other local clients around here have been shipped down to Cornwall and Plymouth Area, where it isnt quite as bad but 2 months delay is common.

You are quite right about the double standards IMHO. Reminds me of one difficult case where the Inspector took eight months to respond to the submission of papers at the start of a low key investigation, then threatened client for not responding to letter after 3 weeks!

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