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HMRC - A pat on the back

HMRC - A pat on the back

Not a question but I've started so I've finished.

Recently had dealings with HMRC in relation to farily complex VAT issues.

HMRC get quite a bad write up on here and I admit/agree that most of the criticism is justified.  The frustration at the recorded messages, endless ringing out, slow updates, daft security questions not to mention lost half hours here and there that all add up.

However, the recent dealings I've had with HMRC in relation to VAT have actually been quite enjoyable!  The team and our primary contact knew their stuff and were first class as far as communication and the assistance offered - even no and again showing a sense of humour and common sense.

So, just a pat on the back for HMRC in this case, they are widely criticised but in this instance were absolutely spot on.

I await the sarcastic replies.........

Must be a Friday feeling


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07th Sep 2012 10:29

I will second that

I have recently applied for a voluntary VAT registration for a company which provides the staff it employs to customers almost entirely outside the UK.  As these are outside the scope of UK VAT, it is a voluntary registration in respect of the few supplies to UK customers, but the main reason for VAT registration is that the EU customers need a UK VAT number on the invoices to them.

Apparently, "labour providers" are a high risk area for VAT.  First, we had to complete a separate questionnaire and then, the case was referred to the dreaded Longbenton for further checks.  They said that they would visit my client today to verify that it was a genuine business.  I called Longbenton a couple of days ago, spoke to a real human being and explained the situation.  He called me back the same day to say that after my explanation, they would no longer need to visit and the VAT registration would proceed without further delay.

I always find that when you get to talk to a real human being, they are ... well, human!

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to lionofludesch
07th Sep 2012 11:57

The shape of things to come

Euan MacLennan wrote:

I called Longbenton a couple of days ago, spoke to a real human being and explained the situation. 

I always find that when you get to talk to a real human being, they are ... well, human!

Maybe it's because I've been reading a lot of Asimov alately, but that just feels like something we will be saying in years to come when AI is the norm.


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17th Sep 2012 16:35

@ CC

Constantly Confused wrote:

Maybe it's because I've been reading a lot of Asimov alately, but that just feels like something we will be saying in years to come when AI is the norm.


There won't be any AI's in HMRC in the future - they couldn't operate under the 3 Asimov laws. Think about it.

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. Failure to quickly deal with refunds - BreachA robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. Forcing as SME into liquidation for a small amount of unpaid tax and thereby forcing the employees into unemployment - breachA robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. The existence of HMRC ( as it is today) could count as a conflict with laws 1 & 2



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07th Sep 2012 11:01

Employers PAYE Payments

I found a few errors in where they had allocated certain payments in the last few years (before I started) and called them the other day. I spoke to a gent who understood what had happened and correct the errors over the phone and didn't give me the stock response of "send it in on a letter, we currently have an 8 week turn-around."


Praise where praise is due.

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By Monsoon
07th Sep 2012 11:37

Praise where praise is due

Whenever I call up the helpline (which ever one it is), 90% of the time the person is friendly and helpful and knows their stuff. Of course, I guess it also helps that I make a conscious effort to be cheerful and friendly from the word go :)

I can't think of anything specific but I've had a few non-straightforward things that have been sorted out just fine.


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By Exector
07th Sep 2012 11:48

and another

Yep addition to the positive reports, in respect of the HMRC Accounts Office CT61 team.

Needed to register a co for issue of CT61s and complete some forms for earlier quarters in the Accounting Period. Phoned the CT61 section about 16:30, they registered co on the phone & referred the request for CT61 forms immediately saying as late in the day, someone would probably look at it first thing next day. However they took my em address and 45 mins later got an email with prepopulated pdf copy of the form to print out and use!  I did reply to say thanks for the ultra prompt service :-)



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07th Sep 2012 12:08

Like all large organisations, variable

I have often come across situations where our clients have been told absolute rubbish by the PAYE helpline or their tax office. This can be really infuriating, particularly when clients are told that their software has got something to do with PAYE wrong when it hasn't done so. But in all fairness the (probably much larger) number of times that clients are given the correct information are naturally never going to come to my attention because they don't generate any controversy.

The specialist team that helps software developers write compliant software is very good. As was the team (before its disbandment) that supervised the payroll software accreditation scheme.

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10th Sep 2012 11:49

watch out...

next we will be congratulating G4S for managing to at least provide some of the security people they promised in return for significant payments.  (it comes to something when we give a pat on the back for people just doing what they are paid for.....or am i just a grump!?)

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By pawncob
17th Sep 2012 12:36

Updated Blog

Still, it's not all good news. 

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By Andy3T
17th Sep 2012 14:03

It is worth sometimes reminding ourselves that we generally deal with the "problem areas/people" and that our experiences tend not to be normal - I'm not asked to help with an inspector who has been reasonable, skilled, etc for the simple reason that those inspectors don't generally cause problems that need my input, so I deal with the problem-children routinely which can skew my view.

I also had a good experience lately.  I called Euston Tower over an incorrect penalty, the chap on the other end didn't understand the technical point, but happily agreed to write - verbatim - my comments on the technical position in his internal note to "the inspectors" with the result that they cancelled the penalty without needing further input from me, the whole thing took maybe 15 minutes which is a vast improvement to the norm.

I've also had a certificate of residence turned around by 8:30 am the next day after a request at 17:30 the previous evening where a shipping company ship got trapped in a foreign port with a perishable cargo, HMRC's emergency turn-around saved the UK co a packet!

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20th Sep 2012 13:59

NRL scheme


Also had a good experience dealing with the Non Resident Landlord dept for a client. They too were very helpful bearing in mind I'm awaiting a written decision backing up the spoken word.

That said another client received a letter re 07/08 & 08/09 query on P11d's for 1 ex employee claiming they never rec'd the payments. The client left the letter with me to deal with. I rang the number on the letter foolishly expecting to speak to an officer in the Dept. What I hadn't recognised was it was the Agent's helpline!! No use to the client and non to me as it was the wrong type of tax!

I ended up writing to save my time.




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