The Wooden Spoon | AccountingWEB

The Wooden Spoon

Has anyone spotted that the Order of the Wooden Spoon has been won by HMRC.

Unfortunately Ms Homer did not feel able to collect the award personally.

You can read some of the background at:

Award winning service, what a change from the days when one dealt with HM Inspector of Taxes ?

johnjenkins's picture

It won't make

johnjenkins | | Permalink

any difference. HMRC will carry on regardless until the inevitable will happen, and that is a complete collapse, staff walking out and no money being collected.

cathygrimmer's picture

Not surprised    1 thanks

cathygrimmer | | Permalink

Given the conversation I've just had with the supposedly specialist ESC A19 department, I'm not surprised. I called to point out that

a) Saying in their letter that they couldn't match up the records and issue a tax code for my client's benefits in good time would have been more believable if I didn't have a copy of the relevant notice of coding and their previous letter confirming the date of issue in 2009.

b) Saying they could not accept that my client thought his tax records were correct 'because the tax that your client owes was large enough for them to notice' was not a valid reason for rejection! Confirming in the previous sentence that they did not use the information on time was helfpul though.

It took half an hour to get them to say they would look at it again. I was asked first to confirm that I accepted that the the decision they had made was already final. Funnily enough I refused and pointed out that their letter has an attachment specifically for my client to complete if he didn't agree with the decision!

I wish I'd just written now but I foolishly thought it might be quicker to call! You'd think with 30+ years of experience in tax I would have known better. I guess my calling was a triumph of optimism over experience!




Stress is bad for you

The Anony Mouse | | Permalink

I've given up calling HMRC, I just go to the local zoo and throw peanuts at the monkeys ........ the monkey's are more intelligent than most HMRC staff.


johnjenkins's picture

I don't think

johnjenkins | | Permalink

it's the ground level staff that is the problem. They are told what to do and say. It's the attitude of the "gods" and the training that needs to change.

Agent strategy was supposed to solve a lot of this problem but that's another story

abelljms's picture

doh !

abelljms | | Permalink




who put homer in charge of something important ?!


let's get Marge in - she would sort them all out in minutes.



Constantly Confused's picture

...    1 thanks

Constantly Confused | | Permalink

I rang the normal helpline last week (as it was about a non-client) and told the nice lady that my client had some PAYE income and some interest, totalling around £20,000.  No ITR had been issued, but we'd noticed she had some tax to pay (due to a duff tax code).

It took me (no kidding) 5 minutes (including her going off to check) to convince her such a thing was possible, she just kept saying 'well if they aren't paying at the higher rate, no tax can be due!'.


Head = Brick Wall    1 thanks

david13 | | Permalink

Having moved abroad 2½ years ago, and concurrently terminated all economic activity in the UK, I have been in an on-going battle to stop HMRC spam/junk mail/demands to fill in tax returns etc. - completely ignoring all my letters to them.

In despair - well, almost - I eventually wrote twice direct to Lin Homer; got an acknowledgement from some apparatchik, followed by vague partial responses from "Complaints Managers". I finally got a letter dated 16 Nov 2012 which, though not fully addressing all my complaints, did include the following "there is no need for you to complete a tax return for tax year 2011-12..."

This ruling, however, was not communicated to HMRC's headstrong and apparently independent computers, which spewed out a letter dated 13 December 2012 (i.e. FOUR weeks later) warning me in stentorian tones of the dire penalties if I did not file my return for 2011-12 by 31 January 2013! I will naturally ignore this and I await with bated breath the apparently inevitable penalty notices.

Oh yes - I was one of those who voted "for" HMRC in the Money Mail / ThisIsMoney poll.

abelljms's picture

talking to HMRCy?

abelljms | | Permalink




it's pointless because they always need a bit of paper in their file to justify caving in to the (sensible) proposal you make to them. I never ring them - especially as it's soooooo painful..


abelljms's picture

UTR denial

abelljms | | Permalink




HMRCy sent my esteemed client a load of coblas for several tax years - due to them taxing him on his p11d expenses DESPITE the SAME ENVELOPE each year containing the s.198 claim as "all done whilst slaving 24/7 for my employer" etc...zzzzzz


so i rang them up and said "can i have a utr so we can send in tax returns for the years in question

"no" was the essence of the reply

so I wrote to them a long letter detailing their stupidity, and repeating the request for a utr so he could file tax returns. i have the reply from the 'Complaints' (fob off punters) Department saying they have 'investigated' and agreed my figures, but still see no need to issue a utr. At least they have withdrawn the assessments.

Should i tell them George Wallpaperman is missing out on higher rate tax for 4 years on un-declared dividend income for my client which they would have found out about if he had filled in a tax return?   Why should i battle (without payment) to make my client upset at a tax bill when HMRCy are sooooo obdurate, and incompetent.


i repeat my long-standing offer to them to help them collect at least £20m in tax EXTRA per year in return for £100k pa for 2 days a week. In fact i will take some of the dough as commission out of the tax i recover - it's simples HMRCy.....




abelljms's picture

in the headline to this Group

abelljms | | Permalink



"best hope we have of making the reforms work is to respond wholeheartedly to this consultation, by telling HMRC firmly what won't work..."


you are extracting the urine are you not? it is clearly (after the last 20 years 'progress') absolutely 100% pointless talking them. We just have to save all the effort, and react to each stupid thing they do, by helping our clients deal with whatever stupidity they engage in next.


Happy New Year everyone !

weaversmiths's picture


weaversmiths | | Permalink

We have given up our PO Box because of the Post Office rip off and we wrote to HMRC giving them details of the new address.  I have received two letters concerning PAYE.  Three of my clients have not signed Authorities, two of which I have been acting for for about 10-15 years and the third?  Our own PAYE Scheme which probably commenced in about 1998.  So we have no authority to act for ourselves.  I will send the copy 64-8s for the two clients but I refuse to answer such crass stupidity in our own case.  I await with interest the ensuring mess they will probably get into over this.

On the other hand I had cause to ring the Agents' helpline the other day on a PAYE matter for a client and the lady I spoke to was quick, efficient and extremely helpful.  Why cant they all be like this? Was she a one-off?



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Group: HMRC Agent Strategy
A forum for members to share ideas, evidence and common responses to HMRC's consultation paper, “Establishing the future relationship between the Tax