Posts Tagged HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs)

HMRC To Appeal Tribunal Penalty Ruling

HMRC is to challenge a tribunal ruling that criticised it’s penalty practice of allowing fines to accumulate before issuing penalty notices.

The taxpayer (claimant) in the original decision, Hok Ltd did not submit it’s PAYE employers annual return by the May deadline.

The company’s one employee ceased employment during the year and Hok was unaware a return still needed to be filed.

HM Revenue & Customs failed to send out any the penalty notices until October, which allowed the penalties to accumulate and increase substantially.

Tribunal Ruling in Favour of Taxpayer (Hok Ltd)

Geraint Jones QC the Tribunal Judge (Chairman) in this case ruled that Hok was only liable to pay the £100 original fine.

The Tribunal Chairman also strongly criticised HMRC for failing to act in good conscience.

In our judgement there is nothing fair or reasonable in setting a computer system so that it does not generate a penalty notice until four months have gone by from the date of default.” the Judge said.

We are in no doubt that the computer system could easily be set to generate a single £100 penalty notice immediately after the 19 May in each year. That is the course that a fair organ of the state, acting in good conscience towards the citizens of the state, would adopt.” the judgement added.

HMRC’s decision to challenge the rulings would result in a binding decision in the Court of Appeal that could lead to HMRC changing its processes if it was unsuccessful.

Comment:

HMRC not “acting in good conscience towards the citizens of the state” surely not?

I see that sort of behaviour from HMRC…. MOST DAYS !

Dear Geraint Jones QC, why do you think HMRC are happy to take six weeks or more to issue UTR references to new self assessment cases in December and January? Becuase they hope to extract more penalties from taxpayers?

There are so many penalties, often substantial amounts of money, enough to liquidated a lot of small businesses. The penalty system is a cover up frankly of HMRC total inability to do anything? So they pass the buck completely over to the taxpayer, every single time.

The problem with the tax system now is that those trying to comply and in this very complex hard to comply with tax system get hammered for the slightest mistakes.

But what effort is HMRC actually making to collect tax from the black market and people evading the tax system? VERY little by comparision as that would actually require that HMRC did some hard work.

Often when I call to speak to Inspectors at HMRC they have often left the office for the day by around 3.30 or 4pm? I have called to find Inspectors still out at lunch at 3pm on more than one occasion in the last year.

The tactic is to tackle the easy targets and not actually do any hard graft.

I have seen numberous tax enquires gone of for two years or more over very small amounts of money as HMRC pursue small businesses they think won’t or cannot afford to fight back and will just cave in and pay up. Very often I seen HMRC walk away with nothing or very little for the time and costs involved.

Why is that?

Firstly Inspectors have far to much power,  not enough accountabilty, and are oftern very poorly supervised by Managers looking for bonuses and promotions. Many try to make the rules up as they go along and bully taxpayers.

Secondly, Inspectors are driven by targets in order to get promotions, payrises and bonus payments. (I have made a Freedom of Information Act request to substantiate this) so it is fact.

Thirdly, the complaints system within HMRC is very weak. In tax enquiry cases particularly (which are often the worst cases) complaints officers often say they cannot get involved as Tribunal (which is very expensive) is the route for taxpayers to appeal.

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HMRC Launches New Email VAT Question & Answer Service

 HMRC has launched a new email service to handle VAT enquiries.

The new VAT Q&A service  is a welcome improvement to HMRC services.

Professional bodies and the  Tax Faculty of the ICAEW have been asking for an email facility for sometime.

The VAT queries service can be accessed from the ‘Contact us’ section of the HMRC website.

UK VAT Registered Businesses Question Form Online

UK VAT Registered Businesses can submit VAT Questions using a UK VAT Registered Businesses Question Submission Form.

UK Unregistered Businesses Question Form Online 

Non VAT registered UK Businesses can also submit questions by email using a dedicated non VAT registered business question form.

 In general, HMRC’s preferred option is for you to find the answer to your question on the HMRC website. If this fails, contact details are shown for the VAT telephone helpline on 0845 010 9000, email and post.

 Where possible, HMRC strongly recommends that you submit written questions about VAT by email, as it expects to reply to questions more quickly this way. HMRC suggest that only particularly long questions, or those where you need to attach something, should be sent by post.

VAT Helpline Number 0845 010 9000

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Having Trouble Getting Through To HMRC On The Phone?

Thought I would share this message from HMRC in case you have also have trouble getting through to HMRC in recent months.

After hours of listing to this message or similar ones 80% of the time I call HMRC I just wondered if you have similar experiences over recent months.

This is an indication of how much HMRC want to speak to you? From a large Government department, central to the finances of the country and to clearing the deficit, raising funds to run the country it is mind blowing that this is the response so much of the time you call HMRC.

If you finally get through there is a good chance you will find the department you’re trying to contact will have moved and you will have to go through the whole process again.

Senior staff at HMRC too often live in their own little bubble with a large lack of understanding of the world outside of HMRC and a lack of respect for the very people paying tax that fund their wages and that of other public departments. Poor communication, poor planning and poor use of resources.

90% of tax collection is done by accountants and taxpayers themselves under the “Self Assessment” system. You would think HMRC could cope with the 10% of less of the process they have to manage?

Personally I think it would save money and lead to a much more effective system to enable accountants to do more without having to go through the painful time wasting experience of contacting HMRC. That would mean less staff were needed at HMRC and things would get done quicker.

As there are so many fines now for taxpayers doing things late now, lots of sticks and no carrots, perhaps it is time for fines to be introduced for HMRC to pay if they don’t do their small part of the process effectively and on time?

If the boot was on the other foot maybe HMRC would become more efficient?

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National UK Press Report HMRC Sitting on Tax Refunds

The National Press reported on comments from some of the UK biggest accountants that HM Revenue & Customs are sitting on refunds due to tax payers for months instead of weeks.

I have first hand experience of this and a lot of cases where this has been going on this year, no doubt like almost every accountancy firm or tax advisory firm in the UK.

HM Revenue & Customs had the gaul to deny it.  Shocking really but then they were unlikely to admit it were they!

When you call and chase the refund, even if you call and chase the refund a number of times, you get the standard answer “it is in for random security checks“.

Yeah right!

A fair tax system works. An unfair one does not work.

You cannot expect people to pay their taxes on time when HMRC are reluctant to issue refunds when they are due.

The question is will this Government be any better than the last lost of idiots at sorting the tax system out to make it fair and workable?

Ummm we will have to wait and see.

Mr Cameron and George Osbourne.  Please remember when punishing the UK population as a whole that it is largely such poor Government and Government spending choices over the last ten years that leave us with record levels of debt.  If you want the support of the masses in clearing the debt it has to be done is a fair way for those who will be clearing the debt, i.e. tax payers.

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UK Tax Investigations.co.uk launched Sept 09

Have been busy working on the next web project which is a website which aims to help people involved with tax enquiries and tax investigations in the UK. The aim of the site will be to publish articles, news and information about UK tax investigations and tax enquiries.

The site will also be adding a directory of UK tax advisers who have experience of dealing with tax enquiries or who specialise in dealing with tax enquiries and tax investigations for clients and helping clients of other accountancy and tax practices and featuring some articles from some of those listed in the directory.

The site is published by Tax Publications Limited my company that specialises in UK tax websites about you tax issues and UK tax advisers.

The new website is now in phase I of development and is on www.uktaxinvestigations.co.uk and can also be found under www.uktaxenquiries.co.uk.

UK Tax Investigations

UK Tax Investigations

The new UK Tax Investigations website is in phase one of it’s launch and we would like to hear from any UK tax advisers with experience of dealign with tax enquiries and tax investigation from all areas of tax.

We will be covering areas such as:
 
  • Self Assessment Enquiries on Individuals
  • Self Assessment Enquiries on Partnerships
  • Income Tax Enquiries
  • Captial Gains Tax Enquiries
  • Corporation Tax and Company Tax Enquiries
  • PAYE Inspections & Settlements
  • PAYE/CIS Self Employment Status Check and Reviews
  • VAT Visits and Reviews
  • National Insurance Enquires
  • Offshore Disclosure Amnesties
  • and more
For instance HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have in the last few weeks published details of the latest Offshore Disclosure Facility which we will be running a series of articles on.
 
Also HMRC have released a consultation document about the proposed introduction of much tighter rules for the treatment of “Self Employed” individuals in the Contruction Industry Scheme (CIS). Again we will be following this issue with a series of articles.
 
Some of the featured articles about UK Tax Investigations will be featured in our www.TaxationJournal.co.uk online tax journal which is also now in phase II of development. 
 
Websites are planned about UK Tax Jobs and we will be taking the Tax Directory published by Tax Publications Limited (the online tax publishing company I am the founder and director of) which lists tax advisers from all over the UK to phase III of development wihch a new upgraded and improved directory in the next few months. 
 
We have a few other interesting online projects planned one of which will be the subject of the next post as it is also entering the alpha phase of development…
 
Tax Adviser in the UK specialising in uk tax investigations? Get in touch.
 
Cheers
John   

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