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HMRC Chaos - The Melting Point

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Over the last week, we’ve documented the intense and mounting pressure under which HMRC is labouring. As you also may recall we also claimed that there is no shortage of ex-employees who are willing to speak about the confusion, strain and lack of morale eating away at the department.

In an impressive coup, BBC Radio 4's Today programme secured and broadcast an interview last Thursday with a current HMRC Senior Inspector on the agreement that her anonymity would be preserved. With 10 years’ experience in HMRC, her revelations made for a compelling interview and one which consolidated the sorry picture of the situation that the department is currently in. We have provided the link to the interview below but have summarised the key points as follows:

  • HMRC is "not fit for purpose" and is "at melting point";
  • The new software is a major problem as it was "not written by tax experts";
  • The department is neither collecting or repaying the correct amounts of tax;
  • By the department's "own admission" the amount of tax going uncollected is "£30 - £40 billion";
  • When asked about those taxpayers who are now concerned that they may have underpaid tax, the Inspector said that they are "under resourced" to such a degree that it may be futile trying to get an appointment ("good luck trying to get in and see us");
  • There are "1 million pieces of unanswered post" currently being stockpiled in tax offices around the UK;
  • It is taking HMRC an average of "3 months" to respond to a letter;
  • When asked about the 24 million cases (reported here last week) which are potentially incorrect she replied: "I am surprised it's that low";
  • Senior managers have their "heads in the sand" and morale is at the "lowest point ever" with people "trying to get out".