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NEWS: The ICAEW wrote to HMRC yesterday

Asked for staffing of HMRC phonelines for last two weekends of January to be restored

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The ICAEW wrote to HMRC yesterday asking for phone lines to be open for the last 2 weekends of January. The letter also asked for a two month waiver of penalties. 

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RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Jan 2021 11:45

How does the number of outstanding returns compare with preceding years ?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Paul Crowley
15th Jan 2021 11:54

At beginning of Jan
Same as last yeat
5 million yet to file

Ignoring partnerships probably

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Jan 2021 12:19

Five million ?

Out of 7 or 8 million ?

Things are worse than I thought.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Dib
15th Jan 2021 14:41

Thought the number of SA returns was between 11m and 12m not 7m or 8m?

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Replying to Dib:
RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Jan 2021 14:54

You could be right.

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Replying to Dib:
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By Paul Crowley
15th Jan 2021 15:27

Agree
I thought between 10 and 12 Million

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A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
15th Jan 2021 11:45

They'll probably get a reply in March

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By Youareatit
15th Jan 2021 11:52

Far too late for getting staff in place for this, although I do wonder where all the staff have disappeared to, reckon they are all on reduced hours contracts now as they dont even cover the opening hours they used to on all lines.

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Jason Croke
By Jason Croke
15th Jan 2021 12:02

The whole of HMRC is horrific at present, anything to do with VAT registrations, VAT returns, letters and emails just ignored, phones not answering, the registration team message st cuts you off after telling you they can't take messages.

HMRC closed down the non established taxable person unit at Christmas, moving it to Leeds I think. So just when foreign business want to register for UK VAT due to Brexit, they go and shut the department down for a move.

Took 3 months to get an SDLT refund.

I think the letter shouldn't just focus on Jan year ends, the whole of HMRC is not fit for purpose at present.

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Replying to Jason Croke:
blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
15th Jan 2021 14:09

I have to agree Jason, we have had some horror stories these past few months, we have one at the moment where the inspector on a VAT refund enquiry has simply stopped answering the phone or emails for the 2 months, in desperation we wrote to her department 3 weeks ago asking for a review as the client has supplied all the required paperwork and is waiting for 6k, still no reply of course.
I appreciate times are tough but things like that are totally unacceptable.

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By Barbara G
15th Jan 2021 15:19

Yeah I don't get it at the minute. HMRC recorded message says phone lines are on reduced hours because employees are working from home. Surely if they are working from home there are no limits to the hours they can be operating, just like the rest of us, open all hours.

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Replying to Barbara G:
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By Cloudcounter
15th Jan 2021 15:25

Covid is the Great Excuse. Lockdowns have been with us since last March. Any organisation that hasn't put alternatives into place in ten months is either not trying very hard, or not very good.

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Replying to Cloudcounter:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
15th Jan 2021 15:56

Cloudcounter wrote:

Covid is the Great Excuse. Lockdowns have been with us since last March. Any organisation that hasn't put alternatives into place in ten months is either not trying very hard, or not very good.

Why not both?
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Replying to Barbara G:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
15th Jan 2021 15:58

@barbara. quite. With commuting cut out, you would have thought staff would be around for longer not less time, and whilst some will have kids etc at home, I imagine lots don't and could do longer hours if bored during lock down and asked to.

it seems like a naked de-staffing to me.

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By mbee1
15th Jan 2021 17:06

I don't really understand the whole working hours thing by HMRC. From Lockdown 1 there has been no weekend working and, initially, opening hours were 8am to 4pm. They have extended them to 6pm but till don't understand what all the usual call centre staff are doing.

I've been working from home for 10 months and saving 1.5 hour a day commute and I end up working those hours. If HMRC staff are on full contracts what are they doing? They're not answering the phones, agent lines have been suspended, they don't reply to letters, so they're obviously just sitting around getting paid.

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Replying to mbee1:
My photo
By Matrix
15th Jan 2021 17:19

I thought they were on the furlough helplines, maybe they are actually on furlough.

We’ll find out on 26th. Although public sector bodies probably won’t disclose furlough numbers.

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Replying to Matrix:
boxfile
By spilly
15th Jan 2021 22:26

Government bodies and other entities that receive central funding cannot furlough their staff.
My inside source from one Civil Service department tells me that the unions are very hot on staff only working their usual office hours, and that some are working to rule as well, meaning absolutely no deviation from the tasks they would normally have done.

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Scooby
By gainsborough
15th Jan 2021 17:08

Completely agree Barbara. Such double standards that it is fine for accountants to waste hours and days on the phone yet no flexibility when it comes to deadlines such as the 30 day CGT one when the system isn't fit for purpose.

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Replying to gainsborough:
RLI
By lionofludesch
15th Jan 2021 17:19

Wouldn't surprise me if they're claiming furlough money for these home workers.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
Scooby
By gainsborough
15th Jan 2021 17:27

...and probably for "the dogs barking in the background" that we are warned about at the beginning of each call :).

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