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Are HMRC grinding to a halt?

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Is it just me experiencing this or do HMRC appear to be grinding to a halt?

Just tried to call the CT helpline. After going through all the usual guff and selecting options, the message comes on that they’re very busy and can’t take the call, goodbye. That’s happened a few times in the last few weeks, whereas in the past it was quite rare.

Various claims or correspondence we have submitted aren’t being dealt with – penalty appeals, R&D claim, EIS application and overpayment relief claim. All sent in a couple of months ago, none yet being looked at. Any time I call for an update I’m told they are dealing with post/claims from March.

They always take my name and number to call back but I’ve never had any of these calls. Maybe one day I will be inundated with them…

The R&D one I chased again today. Called 16 days ago and they were dealing with claims from 28th March. Today they’re dealing with claims form 29th March. I get that March is a popular year end but that’s taking the piss.

I’m half expecting an announcement any day that they are just shutting up shop.

I dread to think how things will be if/when Brexit happens and you have staff diverted off to deal with that…

Replies (15)

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By lionofludesch
19th Jun 2019 15:58

The blokes who man the call centre are probably both on holiday this week.

Thanks (3)
Replying to lionofludesch:
By AnnAccountant
19th Jun 2019 16:17

I always get the aggressive Scotch lady who helps out between charm classes.

Thanks (2)
Replying to AnnAccountant:
By lionofludesch
19th Jun 2019 16:53

Been drinking, has she ?

Thanks (0)
By soundadvice
19th Jun 2019 17:54

Certainly not a lone wolf on this; I am getting seriously concerned that it is becoming almost impossible to get action out of HMRC no matter how often you call them.

I now have 3 repayment claims all reasonable and non controversial that HMRC have been sitting on for between 3 and 5 months and clients are starting to call me out on this and question if I know what I'm doing!

Each client has a repayment marked "pending" on HMRCs portal; one is from January which was down for review in early May but still nothing in spite of numerous calls from me and promises of calls back within 24 hours (never received) by HMRC.

One client got so cheesed off with the situation he called HMRC himself the day before his case was listed for review (14th June) and was told that as he had called before he was told to it has now been rescheduled for 6th August. Unbelievable.

Frankly its an absolute disgrace. There just seems nothing we can do to make HMRC do something.

These are all cases randomly selected by HMRC for additional security checks. I don't believe it is because HMRC are wary of my work in particular because I have not had one single investigation or query on a return I have filed in over 6 years!

It just seems completely random and impossible to make anything happen.

Written complaints have now been raised on all these cases

Thanks (1)
Replying to soundadvice:
By Small accountant
20th Jun 2019 09:46

I've been having exactly the same with repayments. Am trying to tell clients not to phone HMRC themselves as it is being used as an excuse to delay further but it sounds like I'm making excuses and trying to hide something!

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By Matrix
19th Jun 2019 18:58

I got through to the CT helpline yesterday afternoon (I know, normally only call first thing).

The HMRC guy marked the company as ceased trading and said I did not need to write in and reallocated the tax payment made with the wrong payment reference and will call me back when done.

As always, it depends who you get.

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By CptCave
19th Jun 2019 20:18

I sent a letter to HMRC Pensions dept in feb, I receieved their response two weeks ago. I did get a very rare apology for the amount of time it took though

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By Chris.Mann
19th Jun 2019 20:35

So, from what I see here, only a matter of time, before HMRC implodes and, we’re all doomed!

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Replying to Chris.Mann:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
20th Jun 2019 09:47

I'm genuinely starting to believe that this is a possibility.

One day we'll get an announcement saying all post received in the last X months is being shredded and we're starting again from scratch. Re-send if you want your matter dealt with.

Thanks (1)
By stepurhan
20th Jun 2019 08:55

Same here.

Appeal letter ("You must appeal within 30 days") sent early April. The 30 day limit clearly does not apply to responses.

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By 2003bluecat
20th Jun 2019 09:29

I was told last week that CIS reallocations are currently timescaled for around 63 days. I just can't get my head around why it should take that long if both parties have been fully compliant. Why not do a cursory compliance check and if the figures agree reallocate it. If they don't then push it back a few weeks for it to be fully checked. How can it take that long?

Thanks (1)
By bernard michael
20th Jun 2019 09:54

As they've probably only got one employee working on R & D that's not a bad performance to have finished a day's claims in 16 days

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Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
01st Jul 2019 12:58

A colleague has an even better one today. a late filing appeal sen at the end of February - has 1 January 2020 as the estimated date for a decision to be made...

What do you even say to that?

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By ToddGilbey
13th Jul 2019 13:19

Personally, I never attempt to ring Her Majestys Right Cockups for that reason. I have no time to be kept on hold when I have much more interesitng things to do. I write to them recorded delivery - this way you have a paper trail with all the dates etc. If they do get arsey you can inform them that you did write to them and that they need to learn to check their mail more often. At the end of the day, if you can prove that you have attempted to work with them, then they don't really have a leg to stand on. Good luck!

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By Tornado
13th Jul 2019 16:25

I had to wait 6 months for a 2018 Tax Return with an exclusion to be processed and then they had the cheek to add a late filing penalty. I asked why the penalty had been added as a reasonable excuse was filed (HMRC not able to calculate tax correctly) and I was told that this was automatic. It was removed, of course, but not before my client had blown his fuse.

As we come to a critical time for dealing with MTD for VAT problems, as well as all the other problems, I guess HMRC helpline staff (like the rest of Government and Parliament) will all be on holiday.

Nice for some.

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