9am lowdown: HMRC apologises for ‘unacceptably poor’ call record
Big news in this morning’s lowdown: HMRC apologises for unacceptably poor call record.
HMRC apologises for ‘unacceptably poor’ call record
HMRC chief executive Lin Homer apologised to MPs on Tuesday for failing to answer 12m of the 50m calls it receives a year.
Homer said that many of the calls were queries which could be handled online, and said that most people could speak with an adviser after two calls. HMRC said it had recruited more staff who were willing to work in the evening when members of the public wanted to call.
Mark Garnier, Conservative MP for Wyre Forest, said: “If you were a commercial service you would go bust. You only continue to exist because people have to call you.”
The select committee also raised concerns about the low staff morale. Homer’s appearance follows the damning report by the PAC.
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Serious Fraud Office drops Olympus accounting charge
The Serious Fraud Office has dropped fraud charges against Japanese camera-maker Olympus and its UK subsidiary Gyrus Group relating to an accounting scandal four years ago, The Guardian reports.
The move follows an appeal court ruling in February which found that companies cannot be held criminally responsible for misleading their own auditors under English law. The SFO stressed it has been unable to bring prosecutions against individuals in the Olympus case because Japan does not extradite its nationals.
The Japanese group and its Gyrus unit were charged by the SFO two years ago in relation to material that had been made available to auditors in 2010 and 2011.
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Community: HMRC hidden economy visit
Sarah P has asked the AccountingWEB community whether they have ever attended a HMRC hidden economy visit, and whether they have any pointers she should bear in mind because this is a new experience for her.
Glennzy warned Sarah that “there will be nothing routine about this visit”. He also told Sarah, “You need a serious chat with your client to sound him out for what the issue could be”.
However, Sheepy306’s hidden economy experience was less drastic. “The HMRC officers were fairly low-ranking and not particularly knowledgeable about things in general but sufficient to identify the VAT issue and subsequently agreed a reasonable arrangement regarding VAT registration and penalties.”
Have you had attended a HMRC hidden economy meeting? If so, head over to Any Answers to advise Sarah of the likely consequences her client will face.