Future direction of Working Together

There's an interesting report from the ICAEW Tax Faculty, responding to HMRC's December Working Together update, which explained that the WT steering group will be integrated with the Joint Initiative on Service Delivery (JISD) - this was the group that emerged from a concerted campaign from the tax bodies in 2011 to get HMRC to respond to the most pressing issues on mail and phone response times, penalties, dealing with deceased taxpayers and other issues.

While some bureaucratic tidying up is understandable, the change does make one question whether WT is sliding down HMRC's list of priorities (as some members of AccountingWEB may have suggested in the past).

While WT is intended to continue to source issues for attention, the JISD will be tasked with determining what to do. I wonder if the new set up will mean that non-qualified and "lone wolf" accountants will be marginalised within the feedback process. Once you've had a closer look at the developments, do members of this group agree with this view?

Any comments and clarifications from members within HMRC will be appreciated and I'll raise the point with Rebecca Benneyworth when we talk next (she's always busy at this time of year).

Comments
nigelburge's picture

Do members of this group agree with this view?    1 thanks

nigelburge | | Permalink

Most certainly.

Clearly the higher echelons of HMRC have absolutely no interest in the views or input of "non-qualified and "lone wolf" accountants". I am a sole practitioner.

My impression is that the input from WT is just too embarrassing for them to cope with and they would much rather have input from just their chums in the large firms.

I am sure the workers within HMRC at the coal face feel that their views are totally ignored too. Lin Homer seems to be getting even worse than Dave Hartnett at sticking her fingers in her ears and chanting "Nah, nah, nah - not listening".

Are any if us actually surprised? I'm not.

 

Working together

david wilks | | Permalink

what a misnomer! It is my considered opinion that, whilst some tinkering may have gone on around the edges, the "working together" idea is not much more than a poor PR exercise which, given the recent wooden spoon award, has done nothing to improve the level of "service" provided by HMRC.

Whilst online filing appears to have improved the situation when something goes wrong has not.

It seems that the JISD is yet another level of bureaucracy which will have no effect whatsoever on how HMRC conducts itself. It may determine "what is to be done" but, if history has anything to offer, nothing will be done by HMRC to improve things.

Competition is the best way of improving service. Perhaps if members of this group got together to form a tax collection and administration service we could either put HMRC out of business or force it to improve.

Thoughts on a postcard.

No longer fit for purpose?

Homeworker | | Permalink

I used to belong to the Harrow WT group which was well attended and a very useful forum for airing common problems.

Since the group was disbanded after HMRC apparently could not find an Inspector willing to host it, I have to rely almost entirely on Accounting Web to find out what is going on (and AW helps enormously).

I tried reporting problems to National WT but there is no feedback and I had no idea if I was wasting my time, so stopped doing so.  The problems dont seem to go away!

John Stokdyk's picture

Don't leap to conclusions

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

Apologies for not including the link earlier: HMRC update on Working Together structure.

I think it may be worth reading the Tax Faculty's assessment, and looking into the original HMRC document, before comprehensively trashing the propsals, which are designed to "integrate" the Joint Initiative on Service Delivery (JISD) with the Working Together Steering Group (WTSG).

"The intention is that all WT activities other than the meetings and oversight role of the WTSG will continue as now," the faculty commented. With no decision yet on who will do do the things the WTSG volunteers used to do, the ICAEW's concern is that the professional bodies won't be able monitor the progress of the resolution of issues (although some of this presumably happens through the JISD, which is made up of representatives from the professional bodies).

In its own words, HMRC explained: "The integration of WT and JISD is intended purely to enhance the delivery of service improvement – the local WT network remains a key part of both the identification of service issues, and of HMRC’s overall work with and for agents.”

I'm not saying that unrepresentative agents won't be frozen out, but let's try and establish what the facts of the situation actually are before we rush to judgement.

One the other hand, I am a bit concerned about Homeworker's report on the demise of the Harrow WT group, and confess that this group hasn't received the attention it used to.

I'll see what I can find out in the next few days and report back.

 

johnjenkins's picture

I went to one

johnjenkins | | Permalink

of the first WT meetings. In fact I've been on the groung level on all HMRC's initiatives since SA. The point of this post is that since SA, which I thought was well presented and thought out,(not many problems for such a big change) everything else HMRC has tried to do has been crap. Good intentions, good ideas but no substance - why? Sinple answer. The staff who had the knowledge are no longer there and the rest don't give a monkeys cos they are asked to do work way above their pay station.

weaversmiths's picture

WT

weaversmiths | | Permalink

The only knowledge I have of WT is what is written on AW.  I have never been asked to join a Group nor had correspondence about it from anyone.  I thought it probable that as we are  a small firm  (and getting smaller), dealing with  sole and partnership traders only, we were probably not worth bothering with.   We have an Agent Number etc,&  have been trading for  18 years,  so I would have thought there should have been some approach.   It has possibly saved me a lot of time.

TheAncientOne

Unlikely ?

Peter Tucker | | Permalink

The HMRC comment:-
"The integration of WT and JISD is intended purely to enhance the delivery of service improvement – the local WT network remains a key part of both the identification of service issues, and of HMRC’s overall work with and for agents.”

is a reasonable point BUT one has to take into account the reasoned view that belief in the veracity of a statement depends in large measure on the trust one has in the organisation or person making the statement.

The fact that the Public Accounts Committee felt the need to put the senior HMRC lawyer under oath while they were taking evidence from him, does not fill some people with confidence.

johnjenkins's picture

What is worrying

johnjenkins | | Permalink

and probably annoys most people is that HMRC are fully aware of the problems and shortcomings yet do nothing about them.

Quite honestly while this mistrust (on both sides) continue nothing will ever be done.

I see no reason at all (under SELF assessment) that agents cannot go into clients tax records and alter them accordingly, with HMRC becoming merely an Audit and collection agency. Yes, of course there are going to be a few dodgy accountants that will fiddle, but they should be found out very quickly.

 

abelljms's picture

what has WT ever done for us?

abelljms | | Permalink

 

 

it was lot funnier when first uttered by a Python!

 

and the answer is:-

  1. it has spouted a lot of hot air,
  2. and set up joint initiatives into achievable resolvable matters for further examination by the appropriate reporting working group via a deliverables fulfilment executive group
  3. anything else of note?

 

PS. what a shame so many words ending ......able mean the opposite in truth

 

 

Working Together    1 thanks

appacc | | Permalink

We used to sit round a table, 10 years ago, with the Area Director and local department managers. As accountants, we knew each other and shared issues.

We would raise practical issues such as why we tick the box on the CT600 for no small repayments yet HMRC still sent 200 cheques for interest of £3.45 in January for CT payments made on 29 December rather than 1 January. What a waste of money. They were astounded and undertook to find out. At the next meeting they reported back on their findings. Has this one been resolved, I think not?

Then Brian Redfords reforms stopped all that dialogue.

He though the Institutes were interested in practical day to day things that affect us all. Wrong!

There appears to be no-one in HMRC who listens and staff are not encouraged to feed problems to anyone capable of sorting them out. If they would only look at the reason for phone calls and correspondence, they could save huge amounts on money. Why are so many penalties issued and then withdrawn? You try telling HMRC that something is going wrong.

our representative:

david5541 | | Permalink

our representative-whether though WTSG or JISD!!!! to use HMRC accronyms meaningless to all except afew......-is not brian redford is it?

 

are we to know yet who at hmrc read this? or will it just be read by the JISD and not THE WTSG as this is disbanded and if so from when and what about local WT groups? are they going to be abandoned as well?

 

not that hmrc has any local offices any more........

the biggest issue is clerical messes at a local offices!-who exactly is in charge at a local office NO-ONE?

response times, penalties

david5541 | | Permalink

this remains the underlaying strategic mess issue- on this site I saw recently-and have seen-how hmrc returned a form which was signed by the the accountant due to the absence of the client to the clients address!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

this is  typical of all the clerical messes that are up the sleeve at HMRc offices- same case with one of our clients!!!!!!! who have now been served with penalties due to HMRC clerical incompetence and lack of expertise-managers to check things.

HMRC BOSSES ignore the PCS

david5541 | | Permalink

nigelburge wrote:

Most certainly.

Clearly the higher echelons of HMRC have absolutely no interest in the views or input of "non-qualified and "lone wolf" accountants". I am a sole practitioner.

My impression is that the input from WT is just too embarrassing for them to cope with and they would much rather have input from just their chums in the large firms.

"I am sure the workers within HMRC at the coal face feel that their views are totally ignored too. Lin Homer seems to be getting even worse than Dave Hartnett at sticking her fingers in her ears and chanting "Nah, nah, nah - not listening"." yes all the staff at HMRC can do(as members of the PCS-is strike-and no-one at large approves of strike action-so they remain quite powerless.

Are any if us actually surprised? I'm not.

 

Lin Homer

david5541 | | Permalink

Dont forget Lyn Homer presided over the totally failed "border agency" which has now been split up again-back to where it was before-CUSTOMS & Immiggration monitoring & control-by terresa may at the home office.

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