Member Since: 5th Oct 2007
7th Nov 2019
No problem with automation - provided it is accurate and correct. My current concern is the number of incorrect automated 'repairs' issued by the HMRC computer to SA Returns where the figures were correct in the first place! For HMRC to be introducing errors into otherwise correct Returns seems to me to be a direct negation of their primary purpose. I raised this on the HMRC Agent Forum seven weeks ago but have not yet had any reply - shows what priorities HMRC have these days!
16th Oct 2019
Yet more damning evidence that this whole farce was introduced hastily and without adequate testing beforehand. Isn't that exactly what the House of Lords review last autumn concluded - a conclusion that was rejected wholescale at the time by HMRC?
16th Oct 2019
An apparent continuing weakness of the Forum is that HMRC seem willing only to pursue issues they deem to be widespread. All too often I come across obvious glitches in HMRC systems but invariably in only one or two client cases: being a small practice I will never be able to provide the dozens or even hundreds of examples they seem to require! Nevertheless in my opinion it sometimes only takes one example of the HMRC computer saying eg 2+2=5 to demonstrate a system error (and yes I have recently seen the equivalent of 2+2=5 on an HMRC computer generated SA tax calculation that simply did not correctly add up two figures to the total shown!).
The Forum HMRC 'Issues Resolution Manager' (an impressive sounding title worthy of George Orwell's 'newspeak') generally asks for more evidence of an issue, from other firms, before deciding if it is widespread. Given the very poor numbers of firms actively engaged on the Forum this never happens in sufficient numbers to satisfy HMRC so many issues do not get taken further. Also it can be many weeks (even months) for HMRC to respond fully to issues raised - the usual response is that they have sent the query on to the relevant HMRC department who then seem to take forever to get back with a substantive reply, if at all.
On the old Forum the HMRC Issues Resolution Manager had the sole power to close down a thread and claim it to be resolved (thereby adding to the impressive statistics demonstrating the 'success' of the Forum) despite in many cases agents not feeling that a matter has been dealt with adequately. It remains to be seen if this is still the case with the new Forum.
The old Forum gave some indication of the numbers of its users (which included the numbers for the separate general public forum, which rendered it misleadingly high anyway). This info seems to have gone - perhaps because it was such an embarrassingly low proportion of the total number of firms in the UK registered as agents with HMRC. If only a tiny minority of firms actively engage with HMRC on the Forum it seems as if HMRC take that as evidence of the apparently euphoric state of satisfaction from the 90% who do not engage.
7th Aug 2019
It all just proves what almost everyone said last year - that the HMRC pilot was woefully limited.[I accept the point made by one contributor above that a pilot of any new software will not pick up all problems at once but in this case it seems that a lot more issues could have been identified and resolved if the pilot had been more comprehensive.]
I wonder how many VAT Returns (of those that should now be mandated on MTD) are still being completed on the old system and whether HMRC will ever admit to the number - which I suspect is sufficiently large to demonstrate that HMRC preparation was indeed woefully inadequate.
The House of Lords report last Autumn recommended that mandation be delayed, which would have allowed those comfortable with the new system to use it immediately (and assist HMRC ironing out any remaining bugs and niggles) whilst others could continue to use the old system and get themselves up to speed over the next year or so. In practice that seems to be exactly what has now occurred, despite HMRC pointedly disregarding all the Lords committee's report recommendations at the time it was published.
NB I for one was under the impression that the new MTD system would be sufficiently well programmed to identify most of those mandated (ie mainly those whose previous four quarterly returns reported turnover over the threshold) and thereby programmed to refuse a submission on the old system (which has not proved to be the case): we did all see those advance warning notices when submitting the last few returns on the old system prior to mandation, which now seem to have disappeared.
It all confirms my opinion that HMRC are no longer interested in (constructive) feedback from our profession. RIP 'Working Together'.
31st Jul 2019
...and what about those businesses who have always done their own VAT (perfectly adequately on the old system) and have not previously needed to engage an accountant. I wonder how many of them are fully aware of what is required and are fully up and running already - and how many are still in for a nasty surprise in the next few days?
22nd Jul 2019
I thought HMRC were officially cutting back on paper reminders in general - on the grounds that taxpayers are now supposed to all have set up their online access to their 'Personal Tax Account' with HMRC. Nevertheless I still agree that HMRC sending out reminders in the post was always helpful both to clients and to HMRC's own effectiveness in collecting tax when due. But since when did HMRC ever set out to be sensible or helpful anyway?
8th Jul 2019
'lack of an adequate pilot for the roll-out of Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT and the pressures of Brexit on HMRC resources'
Wow - big surprise there. Who would have thought it! Its not as if accountants and tax advisers have been warning HMRC for most of the last two years let alone a comprehensive report issued by the House of Lords Select committee last Autumn. Should we now conclude that HMRC are wholly disinterested in any feedback from us on any topic as they so obviously 'know best'?
1st May 2019
Surely 'help' and 'HMRC' are mutually exclusive terms?
9th Apr 2019
Despite HMRC boasting a large number of taxpayers being now signed up for MTD I think I read somewhere that only 20,000 or so have actually filed a return on MTD (no doubt all those who have signed up just in the last month or so have not yet got to the point to actually submit their first return under MTD). With over 1 million businesses affected HMRC have seen nothing statistically significant yet. Who knows what chaos may ensue when the volume of submissions suddenly increases substantially in a few months time?
NB I am still waiting for my own firm's letter from HMRC notifying me of my obligations under MTD with effect from 1/4/19....
1st Apr 2019
...and of course the whole purpose of a pilot scheme is to identify and iron out as many of these basic areas of uncertainty before a project of this magnitude goes live...