Are HMRC deliberately useless?

Are HMRC deliberately useless?

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Just had an exasperated client on the phone who has had the misfortune of speaking to the employers 'helpline'. 
She's being chased for an underpayment on this year for PAYE/CIS. The amount was £14k last week and has risen to over £30k in recent days depending on who she speaks to!
It took HMRC approx. 3 working days to chase the underpayment on 13/14 but it transpires that they have been sitting on an overpayment of just under £40k for 12/13 and not said a peep.
It was only when our client has mentioned misallocation of payments that they have admitted to having their money.
If she wants her overpayment reallocated or repaid she has to ring Newcastle and tell them how the overpayment has occurred. It's occurred because HMRC have put the money in the wrong year.
Apparently, they don't make mistakes so she has to tell them what she's done wrong!
They won't tell her how the payment is made up. They won't go through payments made by her / payments received by them. They won't tell her Newcastle's phone number or address as, apparently, they don't have it but keep insisting that that's who she has to contact.
She was told that she would have to go through all of the payments that were due and find the ones that add up to the amount overpaid and explain why they have been overpaid.

HMRC would only have been less' help' if they hadn't actually answered the phone in the first place!

Does anyone have any contact details for the Newcastle Employers office please?

Replies (11)

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By bernard michael
02nd May 2014 09:13

They're probably trained not to give money back. However if she's being chased for an underpayment of £10k or even £30k how does she not know she has overpaid in total by at least  £10K. You need to get a grip on her record keeping ASAP 

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By pauld
02nd May 2014 09:44

I am finding

that they appear to be becoming increasingly more underhand in their dealings across the board . If clients tried to get away with what HMRC appear to do, the client would end up in serious trouble but HMRC seem to be able to bend the rules in all directions without any comeback.

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By Leblondi
02nd May 2014 11:45

Absolutely useless

I kinda gave up on calling them because they either will not know the answer and will refer you to endless pages of written information, where there is no answer to your question or will tell you that you need a doctors advice (read between the lines) or, even worse, give misleading answer. The standards are absolutely appalling.

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By GuestXXX
17th Mar 2015 17:00


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By sylou
02nd May 2014 12:04

It's not just the real HMRC staff

I've just called the employer helpline and the automated lady took me through her questions and advised that they couldn't help me on that number so I should call the employer helpline.

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By jholmes
02nd May 2014 12:59

I think these will be the details of who you need to contact


Customer Operations Employer Office
Chillingham House
NE98 1ZZ



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By rjoconnor81
02nd May 2014 13:06

Had a similar conversation with them a while ago:  You have underpaid, no we haven't.  I then ask to check the payments I have with theirs (this was before the on-line payment details were available).  They told me that we should know what we have paid and that they can't check payments back.  I then explained that we do know what has been paid, and as far as we are concerned it has been paid, so I was assuming that a payment had gone missing at their end.  They still wouldn't check payments back so I had to write, turns out they had mis-allocated one cheque to their "suspense" account.  This took four letters to sort out, two of which were just to confirm which payments they had records off.  I am slowly losing the will to life having to deal with HMRC at the moment.  

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By Wanderer
02nd May 2014 13:17

Are HMRC Deliberately useless?

NO! Because if they were doing it deliberately they wouldn't be doing it so well!


I don't have sympathy for HMRC as an organisation as a whole. I do have sympathy for (some) of the individuals who work there. Can you imagine working in such an environment with such poor systems & low staff morale? Occasionally, just occasionally you get to speak with one of the good ones & it's like a breath of fresh air. 

Generally I don't bother trying to contact them at all by phone nowadays unless it's a simple one like a PAYE code update. Other than that if it can't be done by a structured email or online some other way then it's a waste of time & back to a letter.



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By B Roberts
02nd May 2014 13:19

I had a "good" one last week ...
It took 30 minutes to speak to a person about a query.

I was taken through some security questions - there was one reference number that I could not put my hand on and I confirmed a whole raft of other details to confirm who I was and the company etc.

A minute later I spotted the reference number I couldn't remember and happily quoted this to the other person.

"I am sorry, you are too late" ... said the operator.

They then went on to tell me that I had failed the security question - to which I could now answer.

This went round and round for a few minutes and I was told that I would have to ring back and quote the number (the same number that I was now quoting).

I was told that her system was now blocked and the only way I could proceed was to ring back, be on hold for another 30 minutes and quote the number I was now able to quote !

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By stepurhan
02nd May 2014 13:36
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By MarilynMosby
12th Apr 2016 13:09

You can speak to someone at HMRC regarding your obligations as an employer by calling on the mentioned HMRC Employers Helpline: 0870 174 0111.

Just be sure you have your employer reference number when you call the HMRC Employer helpline.

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