HMRC not responding

We have become aware that HMRC are not responding adequately to calls OR essential correspondence.

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We have got gradually used post COVID to HMRC not answering phones  (even Agent helpline )  within 45 minutes and a general lack of service. 

However even up to recently we have always been able to get hold of an Inspector or write a letter to which a sensible response "emerged".

We have however recently become aware that HMRC  "Technical department" are being referred the most trivial queries such as changes to Coding notices and year long overdue refunds. The Technical department cannot be contacted and are taking months to respond when they do the front line staff cannot interpret the response .

Left unchecked  this will mean a significant number of our clients can't get proper responses to queries up to a year after they were raised - This is starting to " Gum up the works" for want of a better phrase...

It truly impacts people with long overdue refunds, and where HMRC have made errrors on client tax situations - which has happened  a fair bit and has caused an "error" backlog. 

I have tried sending correspondence by recorded delivery indicating the issues in granular detail but to date this has been ignored.  Has any one else encountered this ?  And does anyone have any ideas as to how this can be resolved.  Our usual avenues are not bearing any fruit and we are concerned.    I reaslise this may require a collective response via the Accountancy bodies so I do intend to raise this with them too. 

 

Replies (19)

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By williams lester accountants
09th Nov 2023 15:21

Raise it with your MP?

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Replying to williams lester accountants:
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By Tom+Cross
09th Nov 2023 15:44

You cannot be serious! (John McEnroe)

The MP's black hole, is greater than HMRC's

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By Leywood
09th Nov 2023 15:29

The accountancy bodies don’t care. They are also toothless.

You will have to approach it via both the clients MP and your own. But don’t expect that will help much neither, I’m afraid.

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Replying to Leywood:
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By More unearned luck
09th Nov 2023 16:54

"The accountancy bodies don’t care."

What is your evidence for this claim? (I've seen evidence to the contrary.)

" They are also toothless."

What teeth do you consider the accountancy bodies should have that they don't have?

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By rmillaree
09th Nov 2023 15:47

It is what it is - there are certain items that if they involve eitehr post queries or referals will take much longer to look at - eg complicated coding items - soemtimes they never get it.

all we can unfortunately do is suffer it and try and pre plan to avoid uncessary complications - ie any client who ever gets anything adjusted via coding notice if they could just pay the bill is making your life hard .

You might want to take spcecific action for specific clients to try and avoid being in situation past year end.

Nothing is great errf hmrc delays but to me there is only reallya small subset of stuff that are the offenders here. If i need to wait 1 hour to spak to hmrc i take that on the chin (at least i get soem peace and quite whilst i ma doing other stuff)

I think only the acounting bodies could really take hmrc to task here - they should have a hit list of areas where they know what hmrc do is unacceptable and idealy advise ref workarounds - fine chance.

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By Tom+Cross
09th Nov 2023 15:49

I posted quite a few appeals by recorded delivery, last year. When I checked, it seemed that HMRC waited a good while, before collecting these from the sorting office. Don't forget that many of the offices have been deficient of staff, due to working from home arrangements.
You either stomach the gross failure of Sir Harra's governace or find another vocation.
When you look at the "quality" of our politicians you're surely not surprised at the failure of the majority of Government agencies.

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By IreneXU
09th Nov 2023 16:01

In our experience, it is useless to call HMRC if the query is not basic or simple. And it would take about a month for HMRC to get a recorded letter, but about a week if sent by next day special delivery. Otherwise you will just have to wait for HMRC to come to you. When they need something from you, they will just give you a very short response period.

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By Gimlet2008
09th Nov 2023 17:38

Thanks for the reponses so far.
The problem I am trying to highlight is I believe something we will all face.
What impact would this have if for example we were to all end up eith a 2 or 3 year backlog.
I will contact ACCA and explain the postion and my MP as suggested.
I do believe we have to raise this now as left unchecked this could make life very difficult for us all in the future.

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Replying to Gimlet2008:
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By rmillaree
09th Nov 2023 17:55

I do believe we have to raise this now as left unchecked this could make life very difficult for us all in the future.

they are fully aware certain items take 9 months plus to action - these items tend to be the same items year in year out - they know full well where they are weak in this regard and nothing changes -many have told em previusly and nothing changes.

It would help though if the accounting bodies could have hitlist of 20 worst areas of hmrc and banged on aboiut those issues as that might be 50% of the problems.

There seems to be little appetite for that do be done.

One rare success recently is the new corporation tax facility whereby if they get beyong normal timeframs (normally 2 months) - they have MUST ction facility that gets it dealt with in 7 days. Roll that out to the rest of hmrc and the probelm would be far less than it is. Heads should roll ref vat reg fiasco and any depoartment that cant reply in 90 days - unless there is exceptional reasons.

New bod in charge who cares can plan and gets it would be a god start - curent bod is beyond dreaful in every respect.

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Replying to rmillaree:
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By Wanderer
09th Nov 2023 18:19

rmillaree wrote:

One rare success recently is the new corporation tax facility whereby if they get beyong normal timeframs (normally 2 months) - they have MUST ction facility that gets it dealt with in 7 days.

First I've heard of this? Could you kindly provide a reference as not what I am experiencing in practice.

For example one at present, claim made in March, chased in September, received a letter yesterday that it's going to be another 3 weeks at least.

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By JSA Mark
09th Nov 2023 23:11

It seems to be a problem in all areas, I am on my 4th registered letter to simply change our agent PAYE address. last one was three months ago to the complaints team and still not even received an acknowledgment, and of course the address hasn't changed. we moved out of that office 2 years ago. Its not too far away so we have access to collect and a good relationship with the new tenants, but nevertheless totally unacceptable. Potentially a breach of confidentiality should the tenants not been so friendly.

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By williams lester accountants
10th Nov 2023 08:24

Good luck with that, whilst we changed our address around 7 years ago, some post occasionally and randomly goes to an address we have not been at for over 12 years, even for clients who we have only recently taken on!

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By rockallj
13th Nov 2023 12:35

Yep, same here. Left premises 11 years ago & address is still referred to or occasional post sent there.

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Replying to williams lester accountants:
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By rockallj
13th Nov 2023 12:35

Yep, same here. Left premises 11 years ago & address is still referred to or occasional post sent there.

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Replying to williams lester accountants:
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By rockallj
13th Nov 2023 12:35

Yep, same here. Left premises 11 years ago & address is still referred to or occasional post sent there.

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Replying to williams lester accountants:
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By rockallj
13th Nov 2023 12:35

Yep, same here. Left premises 11 years ago & address is still referred to or occasional post sent there.

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Replying to JSA Mark:
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By rmillaree
10th Nov 2023 11:16

I am on my 4th registered letter to simply change our agent PAYE address

we finally got out agent name updated online at last - only took em 15 months

what is really annopying is that back in the day the ganet maintanor team were amazing they answered the phone updated everything all at one and service was fanatstic - i reckon the team that "never answers the phone" is probably 3 times as big are probably does 20% of teh wrokloan per person that the old team did when you pick up the phone to them. One would think that landline cals to known main phone number of agent would be about the most secure way to communciate with us .

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By JSA Mark
09th Nov 2023 23:11

duplicated post

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By Ben Alligin
10th Nov 2023 10:01

Here's a suggestion. From 5th April 2024, all accountants should only file paper returns with HMRC, that will finally break the system and then they will have to do something to fix it.

If HMRC don't want to engage with agents, we can return the favour.

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Replying to Ben Alligin:
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By Wanderer
10th Nov 2023 12:33

Would only make things worse for us.

I've still got on file a cutting from the Times in January 2000.

Back then, when it was almost 100% paper returns, it quotes:-
'A confidential Audit of 40 tax offices carried out by the Revenue last April found that some offices calculated more than 50% of bills incorrectly.'
These were basic inputting errors when paper returns were not copied across to the HMRC computers correctly by HMRC staff.

HMRC were out of touch back then as it goes on to say:-
After the negotiations, the Revenue finally agreed to aim for a 75% accuracy rate this year'!
So that's all right, they were going to work really, really hard and aim to still get 25% wrong!

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