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End of the road AccountingWEB Has HMRC given up?
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Is it the end of the road for HMRC?

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With phones going unanswered, staff numbers reduced and morale dangerously low, just how much longer can HMRC go on? Our roving accountant points the finger at the real culprits.

5th Oct 2023
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Back in the day, taxpayers were wary of tussling with what was then divided into the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise, fearing the strong possibility that they would be caught and penalised.

While this is still a theoretical possibility in 2023, anyone with even a modicum of courage might be willing to take the chance that they’ll get away with avoidance and even evasion, if not necessarily murder.

I’m not intending to attack the good folk at HMRC in this article. It is underfunded, under-resourced and its few remaining staff collectively suffer from ever-decreasing morale.

The real culprits here are not those working at His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs but, depending on your outlook, their masters at His Majesty’s Treasury or heading for the top, His Majesty’s Government. Given the bad vibes caused by each of these bodies, if I were King Charles III, I think I might be asking them to remove my name from their titles.

Self esteem

Everything is now geared to self assessment, which means relying on taxpayers to have a full understanding of thousands of pages of tax legislation and do the decent thing. In supermarket terms, we therefore effectively have self-service with minimal customer support or store detection.

To signal that nobody is home, “customer” enquiry lines at HMRC were closed down during the summer, while the latest attempt to improve service involves a drop in standards whereby professional advisers can no longer expect the phone to be answered within 10 minutes by somebody who may (or may not) be able to help them.

We should never forget that even at the previous goal, for every caller who got a timely response, someone else would wait 20 minutes and their clients paid dearly for that time (unless your firm is willing to take the hit and lose revenues). It will now be even worse.

Fraud boom

We have now reached the point where fraud is rife. Egregiously, HMRC has pretty much given up on trying to recover amounts stolen from the country by many who unjustifiably collected sums paid ostensibly to support businesses during the early days of the pandemic.

I doubt that many accountants can demonstrate recent examples where inspectors of taxes have carried out audits of small or mid-sized clients, whether individuals or businesses, and the overall number of enquiries also seems to be hitting record lows.

Even for serious scams, the statistics are damning, only 11 criminal prosecutions launched against rogue individuals in the past year and just 240 prosecutions concluded – a drop of two-thirds since pre-pandemic days.

As a result, the theoretical tax gap is almost certainly increasing, although nobody seems willing or able to measure it with any degree of accuracy.

Getting it wrong

All of this means that when completing tax returns (or possibly failing to do so) many well get things wrong. There are three possible reasons.

Most benignly, some will be ignorant of the law and despite doing their best to complete returns accurately and attempting to call HMRC and failing to get through, will make mistakes as a result of ignorance.

Even when professional advisers are involved, there is a greater chance that clients will take a flyer as a result of uncertainty regarding the law. This will be even more prevalent if HMRC can’t be bothered to talk to the advisers.

I know many accountants who take the view that while they would never wish to do anything that is clearly unlawful, if there is a degree of uncertainty about interpretation, it is reasonable to take the side of your client and let HMRC investigate, should they choose to do so. This would be fair if we had a fully staffed, fully trained tax service but that is now part of ancient history. Instead, billions are probably going begging as a result.

The third category of failure is the most serious. This is wilful fraudulent activity and is far more likely to occur when there are few checks and balances, and miscreants think they can get away with something.

While I would hate to suggest that this country should go back to the dark days when those who committed minor offences were shipped off to Australia or hung from a gibbet at Marble Arch (formerly Tyburn Gallows), the realistic possibility of being caught and finding your liability doubled is increasingly slim.

Back on track

In order to get back on track, HMRC would need to take a number of steps that could include increasing staff numbers, properly training and rewarding those involved in investigative work, and carrying out far more visits (akin to putting Bobbies back on the streets to frighten and discourage those who might be inclined to indulge in criminal activities).

Not only does beefing up HMRC appeal to my natural sense of justice but it would also help to bring in much-needed resources to HM Treasury, which could be spent on feeding children, heating the poor or, if you prefer, reducing income tax or abolishing inheritance tax. Instead, the government seems determined to cut, cut, cut, regardless of the cost to the country.

Replies (50)

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Tornado
By Tornado
05th Oct 2023 17:46

In order to get back on track, HMRC would need to take a number of steps that could include increasing staff numbers, properly training and rewarding those involved in investigative work, and carrying out far more visits (akin to putting Bobbies back on the streets to frighten and discourage those who might be inclined to indulge in criminal activities).

You have missed one vital change and that is to treat Accountants, Tax Advisers, Book-Keepers, etc, with respect and acknowledge that we have in the past and can again, provide HMRC with good back up services and deal with work that HMRC are unable to do.

Scrap the divisive MTD plans and let us organically, steadily and carefully bring our clients into the Digital age because WE know how to to do this better than HMRC or even the software developers.

Most of us are not here to help our clients avoid or even evade tax, we are here to help them pay the right tax.

In short, the salvation of HMRC is US so those in charge need to take this on board NOW whilst we are here otherwise it will be too late. They really do need to be very nice to us and listen to what we have to say.

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Replying to Tornado:
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By johnjenkins
06th Oct 2023 11:09

No doubt you have seen my many posts arguing that HMRC should just stick to investigation and collection and leave the rest to us. "Agent strategy" was the big step that would eventually have given us that platform.

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Replying to Tornado:
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By DMBAcc
06th Oct 2023 12:32

Hi Tornado. Your penultimate sentence is SO important. HMRC need to act NOW. I represent an increasing number of accountants who have hung up their quill and abacus in despair of where we now are. I would have happily worked for a few more years but for the needless legislation ESPECIALLY the anti money laundering non-sense of record keeping. The overheads in terms of workload that HMRC have put on me for no financial gain to me was the final straw. So like others I took the easy option and drew down my pensions including the State Pension. I feel so sorry for both accountants and clients who have to deal with this nightmare. The phrase concerning a party in a beer factory comes to mind.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
05th Oct 2023 19:41

It does seen HMRC are now in a death spiral, like so many public services they essentially fail at their core function and essentially given up any pretence of competence, or have any sort of plan to get back on track other that 'digitise'. If it was a business it would have gone bust.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Justin Bryant
06th Oct 2023 09:18

It could be a lot worse. I'd much rather deal with incompetent HMRC than our incompetent cops/CPS who can really, really properly screw your life up if you're totally innocent: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-66928735

The whole civil service needs a good shake-up. This country manages to succeed despite the civil service, not because of it. The core problem is that unlike a private business, it's not their money being spent, so there are no proper incentives to improve or be more efficient etc. Quite the opposite. Just look at the HS2 debacle. No accountability whatsoever.

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By richards1
06th Oct 2023 10:08

Agree with you ref accountability civil service is on a feather bed compared to the people in the real world.

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By Ammie
06th Oct 2023 10:17

To sum it up our governors, from top to bottom, want all control and no responsibility, what a lovely predicament to find oneself in. Utopia.

Imagine waking up each day and making decisions for which there are no consequences, financial or otherwise, and to cream it off, if you do drop a clanger which costs you an eyewatering amount, all you need do is ask for some more money and go again.

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By Justin Bryant
07th Oct 2023 08:38
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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By Justin Bryant
27th Oct 2023 12:58

I was wrong re HMRC not being that bad: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-67231981

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Ivor Windybottom
By Ivor Windybottom
06th Oct 2023 09:34

It disappoints me that HMRC do not outsource the functions that they cannot resource.

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Replying to Ivor Windybottom:
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By WallyGandy
06th Oct 2023 09:50

Agree to a point, Ivor, but wary we would end up with the untrained trying to train the even more untrained? Ever decreasing circles.
Have to agree with the main content of the article- deal with the staffing numbers and morale. But is the situation too far gone? I fear so........
I lost respect for HMRC some years ago and now it's rock bottom.
If they don't do what they are supposed to do I start at the top with a Tier 1 complaint - can't be bothered now with phone- quicker to write and mail.
And... has anyone else noticed that the Royal Mail tracking no longer works with HMRC?
Jury out on Agent Helpline pro tem.

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Replying to WallyGandy:
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By Susan56
06th Oct 2023 11:58

Based on my recent experiences, (plural)Royal Mail Tracking doesn't work for anybody. It's something of a scam charging for 48 tracked delivery when there is no penalty for failure to deliver until a week has elapsed while the tracking just isn't working OR isn't being updated. So privatisation is also not working!

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Replying to Susan56:
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By morganedge
12th Oct 2023 17:06

I agree. The days when a VAT tribunal ruled that "First Class Mail is a Next Day Service" are long gone but even the alternatives don't work

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Replying to Ivor Windybottom:
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By johnjenkins
27th Oct 2023 15:25

They outsourced their collections department and that's in a total mess.

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By paulclewlow
06th Oct 2023 09:50

Yesterday, I tried to call CT online helpdesk but could not get past security.
She was obviously working from home and said she had only just joined the online team.
She asked me for my agent reference number, and i told her the reference in format that is Digit, four numbers, Digit
She insisted that was wrong and it should be Digit Digit Four numbers, which is the format for my agent PAYE code.
After telling her she was wrong and suggesting she referred to a more senior colleague I was cut off.
Not enough training and poor quality recruitment.

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Replying to paulclewlow:
Tornado
By Tornado
06th Oct 2023 10:14

Even the people working for HMRC are becoming like computers and have no mind of their own. If Computer Say No then cut off the call.

Eventually we will be only talking to computers and their human peripherals so we will need devise ways to give those machines the information they want to hear (whether it is correct or not) so that we can get the information that we want to hear.

I am not quite sure what happens when Computer Say No to everything. Perhaps it will mean that we are all dead due to the world shutting down around us.

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Replying to Tornado:
VAT
By Jason Croke
06th Oct 2023 14:15

HMRC was never geared up for remote working, every officer knew their place, decisions of any kind had to be escalated to the line manager - who was sitting across the way - and staff were reviewed and monitored, there was a sense of robotic process but done with pride.

Now, staff aren't in the office anymore (HMRC closed most of the regional ones), staff making stuff up, nobody checking their responses, nobody caring whether what they say is right, nobody cares if they pick up the phone.

Most service based jobs can be done remotely, but it takes a certain culture and ethos to transition from office to home, most in the service sector achieved this, but HMRC staff are like the Borg in Star Trek, they only work when they act as a single hive-mind, once they broke away from the cube, they are utterly useless and unable to follow the collective rules or collective protocols.

So I'm with Jacob Rees-Mogg on this one (and only this one), they need to get their backsides back into the office where they can be monitored and trained properly because giving them free will was a massive mistake.

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Replying to Jason Croke:
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By morganedge
12th Oct 2023 17:13

I have to disagree with you, Jason. Much of HMRC was capable of working from home. It was possible to supervise work remotely. What knackered HMRC was the senior management belief that it COULD be run like the Borg with interchangeable units being brought off the streets moved around like Lego blocks. And the belief that managers didn't need to know anything about the work because everything could be reduced to branching guidance for the workers to follow.

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By Ammie
06th Oct 2023 10:11

"I doubt that many accountants can demonstrate recent examples where inspectors of taxes have carried out audits of small or mid-sized clients, whether individuals or businesses, and the overall number of enquiries also seems to be hitting record lows."

Is that gap supposed to be covered by the "MLR stick" and the consequences of not complying I wonder.

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Replying to Ammie:
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By DMBAcc
06th Oct 2023 13:17

Dear Ammie. I can answer this from recent experience. I had an accounting business for 14 years with an average of 60 clients. Not once did I have an HMRC visit or letter concerning any of my clients. Now, I would like to think that all my returns were accurate to the penny so an HMRC visit was unnecessary. But, I rather think that since only one of my clients ever had a turnover of over £100,000 that HMRC applied the de minimus rule to me.

With reference to AML supervision provided by HMRC at a cost of £300 per annum, I received a visit by two HMRC officers. They travelled 150 miles and stayed 4 hours. So HMRC paid two officers a minimum of 10 hours each for this visit. They looked at NONE of my client accounting records. They simply wanted to know whether I had a spreadsheet showing the summarised details of my clients' ID proof of who they are and where they lived! I taught the children of some of my clients in Sunday school. Most of my clients I had known for more than 20 years. But none of that counted. Further, if someone's data became out of date eg. driving licence is renewed I should have a record to prompt me to ask for a copy of the new driving licence. REALLY is this the height of our money laundering system the HMRC has? No one asked about clients who have cash receipts and how do I ensure everything declared? The visit was a complete waste of time for everyone. I could have used that 4 hours more productively. More worryingly, the visit will have been added to the data used by HMRC to inform the minister what money and time is being spent on AMLS. I'd like to see the summary of how productive this sort of activity has been in reducing and combating money laundering. The visit I received filled me with no confidence that HMRC actually know how to combat money laundering. It's scary. AND expensive.

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Replying to DMBAcc:
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By johnjenkins
06th Oct 2023 13:52

There is a train of thought that the authoritarianism in this country is becoming OTT and hence unpoliceable. Try buying or selling a property? Solicitors and Estate agents use a third party to verify ID. It's not becoming a joke, it is a joke. Still Rishi will be knocking on everybody's door to see if only the right aged people are smoking. We have moved from a "nanny state" to an autocratic state. Luckily the next general election will be so hung that we will have to have an all party coalition.

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By Michael Davies
06th Oct 2023 10:12

Back in the 80 s I was on about £14k a year as an Inspector.In the year I left the Dept,my tax,nic,penalties and interest yield was over £300k.You do the math.

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By sodge2000
06th Oct 2023 10:23

I lost respect for HMRC a few years ago following a VAT investigation when the result was that we had underpaid by £13k. As a business with a turnover of around £50k this was a bit of a shock. Part of the issue was the Inspector insisting that we had to add labour to invoices for supply parts. After spending 3 weeks of my time matching our invoices to our purchases and proving our stock level, the response from the Inspector "I didn't know you carried stock" This was despite him sitting at a desk next to our stock storage!

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By mikebarlow
06th Oct 2023 10:30

When I first started in IR in 1990 my role was to find ghosts and moonlighters mainly walking the streets taking down who was trading at what addresses, visiting unis and colleges to get publicly available lists of landlords then back to the office to check against records. That was all stopped due “human rights”. HMRC now relies on computer profiles but if you aren’t on there as you are a cash business then in all likelihood you will never be found. Added to that how on earth are the staff supposed to “police” remote areas from the Regional centres. Please don’t take it out on the staff, most are doing their best in a difficult working environment.

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By GrayMan
06th Oct 2023 10:32

Asking the public to file tax returns online was one thing. What they shouldn't have been able to do was persuade the public to submit accounts & tax computations with no proper training. I'm retired but numerous small business people that I speak to have not a clue about what's allowable or otherwise and no way should some be using a cash basis. As a general rule, most are underclaiming tax & NI far more than an accountant's fee would cost them.

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Replying to GrayMan:
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By leekris
06th Oct 2023 15:10

I recently had a client decide they were going to submit their own tax returns, citing ‘cost of living’ etc. It’s not straightforward as it’s a business partnership, so three returns, plus a let property. I don’t think they’ve realised they will need software for the partnership return if submitted online. Will they ask me for the opening trial balance ? It’s all very friendly and they will be trying to do it correctly, but I’m not sure they’ll find the stress worth the fee saving. In the context of this excellent article, they won’t get it right - whether that will involve under or over paying tax is moot.

I think we will see more DIY submissions and this will be exacerbated if MTD permeates to the lower turnover levels. I imagine many of us have had experience of amenable, ethical clients who when the tax bill gets higher than what they perceive to be ‘fair’, will let their ethics slip.

Even those who might be relatively capable of DIY and determined to do it right, fail to understand the level of complexity and unable to get sound advice (or any advice) from HMRC.

The more people realise HMRC don’t even apply resources to monitor submissions, the more they will submit any old rubbish. Tax loss will surely be increased when people realise ‘self-assessment’ could be interpreted as I will assess what I think I should pay.

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Replying to leekris:
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By GrayMan
06th Oct 2023 16:31

The problem I have with DIY self-assessment is that it shifts the burden of getting it right firmly onto the taxpayer. I have the feeling that all those who underclaim will simply go through “on the nod” as it were with little redress, and this seems to be the larger part. For those that overclaim, rightly or wrongly, the revenue will eventually come down on like a ton of bricks with interest and penalties after several tax years. It was all I could do to persuade some to write down even daily cash takings and pay into their bank regularly. In June 2023 one showed me his monthly takings to December 2023 on which he proposes to base this year’s accounts! None of those that I spoke to were aware that finance charges on vans were deductible and thought Capital Allowances were pocket money.

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By Springfield
06th Oct 2023 11:07

I share the frustration of everyone on here although I would take issue with a couple of the initial points raised. Yes, I don't blame the junior members of HMRC staff but I do blame the executive management up to and including Harra. They have presided over a shambles for many years but don't seem to see themselves as the problem.

Secondly, I don't see more staff immediately as achieving anything other than increasing the cost base, and better training - yes but this to be done in-house and kept away from the usual suspect consulting behemoths who already cream too much public money into their slimy paws.

What is needed is a complete overhaul of the operation. As I've said before I would introduce some small scale pilot schemes which would involve opening local offices but equipped with up-to-date technology and each staffed with expertise in every tax field but supported by enthusiastic juniors. They could initially take on a set number of "taxpayers" to look after and the standards would be high including phones answered immediately and no unanswered post.

Meetings with taxpayers would be encouraged as would relationships with agents. The junior staff could learn effectively and see a career path where excellence is rewarded. I don't mean a return to the old days of scruffy IR offices staffed by scruffy people but a smart, modern facility using every technological advance now available. Once successful and with proven systems and formats, this could be carefully rolled out across the country like a business franchise.

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Replying to Springfield:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
06th Oct 2023 11:35

Its not I would suggest HMRC's fault as such.

They have been hugely defunded, apart from the fantasy project to MTD [which after all was not HMRC's project, it was Whitehall's] have been starved of people and resources, whilst at the same time had the tax system increased massively in complexity.

its 90% a political failure to provide a stable and simple tax base (OTS abolition etc was 100% political, and ignoring it when it did exist), and sufficient resources to collect the cash, and 10% down to poor management.

To be fair to them, its hard to do much else but put their fingers in their ears and hope the tax comes in.

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Replying to Springfield:
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By Jack the Lad
06th Oct 2023 11:47

Springfield, you are going back to the "good old days" pre 1997, when there were local offices dealing with local taxpayers (not "customers"!) staffed by Inspectors who knew what they were doing, and with whom you could have a telephone conversation, deal with queries (not an "Enquiry"), and even do a horse-deal re expenses claimed. Mutual respect abounded generally, especially when they knew the good accountants from the bad ("black list"!).

Oh happy days!

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Replying to Jack the Lad:
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By Springfield
06th Oct 2023 12:26

From my point of view I don't think there was much good about those days. My experiences from the mid 1990's (when I first got involved in this profession) was that the IR offices I visited were scruffy places staffed by scruffy people. The odd conscientious officer didn't make up for the air of defeatism, malaise and decline which pervaded the whole place.

My idea is not to go back to those days, but to bring in a new modern, professional, properly equipped work-places where staff aspire to high personal and professional standards and feel they are part of a progressive organisation and not marking time in a race to the bottom.

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Replying to Springfield:
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By Jimess
06th Oct 2023 15:06

Your idea is near enough what we had in the 1980's and 1990's. The tax offices we dealt with were well run with highly motivated and well trained staff and efficient systems. The gimlet eyed DI's knew their patch, knew their staff and had sussed out the good agents from the bad. When self assessment was being introduced the local tax offices and agents worked together to make it a success. The only downfall I can remember of the first year of self assessment was that the tax office post baskets were not big enough to take the flood of tax returns posted through their doors on 31 January, something that was quickly remedied before the next self assessment season.

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VAT
By Jason Croke
06th Oct 2023 14:21

Perhaps HMRC should just insist that any VAT registrations or new PAYE or UTR's can only be issued by using an authorised tax agent.

This then removes the huge layers of security checks that HMRC implement (badly) by shifting the responsibility on the agent, the agent must be authorised and pass a sequence of tests such as being registered for AML, a member of an accounting association, etc.

As an aside, in many EU member states, if you want to register for VAT, you have to have a tax agent and only the agent can submit VAT registrations, whereas here in the UK, anybody from anywhere can submit one....it's things like this that increase the risk of fraud, why should overseas traders get to interact with our tax system for free, with no knowledge as to what our tax laws are, we leave ourselves open for future non-compliance and errors, the EU approach of insisting on overseas traders having to engage with an agent is a sound one, it protects the revenue (HMRC's main job) and also builds in income for the UK service sector.

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Replying to Jason Croke:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
11th Oct 2023 17:18

Bit of a closed shop there, forcing clients to use external accountants.

How would it deal with those business entities who have in house accountants who are not HMRC agents? (like myself)

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By Mr J Andrews
06th Oct 2023 15:41

I'm surprised there's no mention of a certain James Harra in this article.
Anyone who knows anyone 'working' for HMRC knows how the service has become dumbed down, owing to the utter mismanagement from the top - within the service. Any Revenue official would agree. But with morale at its lowest who can blame them for lounging at home, supposedly on duty ? Why answer the phone when there's no comeback for cutting off callers after trying to get through for 45 minutes ? Why respond to correspondence when there's no accountability for building up an in tray to Jenga proportions ? Why bother to work together with agents where denial appears the defence mechanism at 100 Parliament Street ?
Yes it does go higher. '' But not just now Jeremy........We've got this HS2 thing to worry about''
Surely a change of C.E.O. must be the starting point to raise the rock bottom HMRC are now at.

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steve_knowles.png.jpg
By Steve Knowles
06th Oct 2023 16:20

Please tell this to my small business client that is being pestered by HMRC on a minimum wage enquiry. They employ around 10 full and part time staff, all of which are paid above minimum wage, and are treated fair and reasonablely.

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By Dogracer
06th Oct 2023 17:51

The closing of the local tax offices was the start of the rot setting in, HMRC inspectors were hard but fair.

A technical point sticks in my mind. HMRC not sure about our view but showing the section in Butterworths and query closed.

Also having someone to speak to that actually knew something about tax was a benefit

The underfunding has been over the last 30 years or more. I remember speaking to a DI (remember them) lamenting that he has to let a good person go because their grade was too high for his budget

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By tinuvia1970
06th Oct 2023 18:59

In reply to Jason Croke. I find your comments very rude. You don't know what you are talking about, so get your facts right. I know people that work in HMRC. People have left in droves due to incompetent senior managers, who only care about getting on the ladder to promotion. Most of them make decisions based on no knowledge of the job. When staff question their decisions, and give reasons why they won't work, they ignore them. Older experienced staff have left in droves, sacrificing full pensiond to take early retirement. Trouble is, they are never replaced. The staff left behind are therefore asked to do twice the work. They are s9 underst

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By tinuvia1970
06th Oct 2023 19:08

In reply to Jason Croke. I find your comments very rude. You don't know what you are talking about, so get your facts right. I know people that work in HMRC. People have left in droves due to incompetent senior managers, who only care about getting on the ladder to promotion. Most of them make decisions based on no knowledge of the job. When staff question their decisions, and give reasons why they won't work, they ignore them. Older experienced staff have left in droves, sacrificing full pensions to take early retirement. Trouble is, they are never replaced. The staff left behind are therefore asked to do twice the work. They are so understaffed, that there is no one to train them, so they rely on poorly written call guides and left to get on with it. Most of the staff I know in CSG are on antidepressants. So how dare you say such arrogant things about them. I'd like to see you work difficult cases, then leave them to go on the phone for your 'stint', in the middle of 300 pages of calculations, then pick it up again, only be told to leave it and go on the phones again because they're busy. As for homeworking, you're wrong AGAIN. People are in the office, and it is just as easy to work from home. When you're all answering calls in the office, you can't ask anyone questions, so it's no different from being at home. Get your facts right before having a go at people!!!

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By [email protected]
06th Oct 2023 19:35

As an ex HMRC employee (many years ago) my view is that more qualified investigators should be employed and instead of going after the small fry some of the rich and powerful should be investigated. Success in this area would be a greater deterrent.

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By raybackler
07th Oct 2023 10:42

Excellent article and an excellent response from Tornado that I fully agree with, so no further comments from me except for one that has not been covered and is important too.

Accountability is what is missing in many of our civil service activities and this applies to HMRC and the DWP too. The people I do speak to aren't allowed to make decisions, they merely forward an enquiry to someone else who is faceless. If no one can be bothered, the faceless can't be chased by me. That results in several calls instead of the issue being immediately resolved.

What really needs to happen at HMRC is for call handlers to have the authority to resolve most enquiries at source. They may make some mistakes, but they do anyway. There will be a learning curve, but allowing junior staff to make decisions would relieve the burden further up the tree for the experienced staff to deal with more complex issues.

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Tornado
By Tornado
07th Oct 2023 11:27

I am wondering what lies at the End of the Road for HMRC -

Salvation
Reincarnation
Transformation
Epiphany
Oblivion

or perhaps just NOTHING

Who knows ......... we will have to wait and see

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Replying to Tornado:
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By spilly
08th Oct 2023 10:54

It will probably end up being re-badged as something like ‘The Office for Digital Tax’, with AI responses to all initial queries.

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By moneymanager
07th Oct 2023 15:19

The solution is obvious, do away with the need for a tax levying body by the simple expedient of destroying the monetary economic model and moving to a social credit system i.e.rations, distributed or denied according to some algorithm's assessment of your "value", "carbon emssion wortiness", or "social media behaviour", i.e. communism.

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Replying to moneymanager:
Tornado
By Tornado
07th Oct 2023 15:56

Well, it is and idea that we have not tried yet.

I bagsie being the President

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By johnjenkins
09th Oct 2023 12:09

I have said many times that we will end up with the Government of the day just giving us "pocket money". Still the illegals don't do bad out of it do they?

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By Pam Moreland
10th Oct 2023 09:53

Totally in agreement. Totally frustrated trying to help clients and feel as though I am doing HMRC's job for them. Two calls to agent line last week, on hold for 39 and 48 minutes respectively. No good telling me how much useful information there is on their website. If I could do it that way I would. I have to call as two letters to take clients out of self assessment have been ignored. Some of these were sent 6 months ago. I now send two reminders and then a formal complaint but even complaints are now taking three months instead of the previous one month to be answered.
MTD - don't make me laugh. They can't even organise themselves let alone put in more bureaucracy and complexity.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
11th Oct 2023 17:29

Part solution-Smaller trading entity investigations (anything say up to audit thresholds re turnover/assets)- hire retired accountants from the private sector, let HMRC issue notices etc, communicate with the taxpayers, keep up to date with tax law etc but let accountants review the taxpayer books and records, old fashioned back duty work, do the mark ups and spot the gaping holes.

Come 2026 (my state pension age) if HMRC want me then happy to put in a few days a month solely doing such analysis , mainly to keep my brain ticking, say £40-50 per hour and if few hours then little /no NI for them to pay and no pension accrual.

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By Jimess
12th Oct 2023 09:25

Good idea but I could see another industry building up on this this very quickly, similar to the way the health and safety and AML industries have grown over the years. It will all end up bound in lots of red tape and more NGOs to regulate the inspectorate.

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By morganedge
12th Oct 2023 17:16

Thanks for this positive and constructive advice.

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