Thursday, 21 January 2010

Tax is Taxing

Moira Stuart been on TV a lot lately telling us that tax doesn't have to be taxing. Well as someone who helps friends out with their tax I can easly come back and say to Moira. "Tax doesn't have to be taxing", but it bloodly well is!"

The web site is far from easy to use. If your filing company accounts or paying tax it's not joined up. I find the web site too be quite hard to use and to navigate.

When filing a self assessment why can't the web site tell you your previous payments and deduct these (I bet people miss this one and have it retuned to them much later in the year, why can't the website just fill in your tax payments, why can't it add it you PAYE? and why can't it simply say actual UK dividends received rather than without the tax credit, it's confusing.

You would suspect it would be fairly simple to link remittance data to returns based on the reference numbers. Billpay online payment system is not linked to the data HMRC hold about returns as its operated by Santander bank. As with many government systems, the HMRC systems appear to be developed separately and don’t seem to talk to one another or be linked in as much as they could be.

How comes when the Inland Revenue make a mistake its seems so hard to get the money back or get them to admit it?

Also answer the phone please see here. Research found that 43% of the 103 million calls went unanswered last year. HMRC's has 31 contact centres which have 10,500 full-time staff at a cost of £233m. So its not as if they dont have the resource.

I really dont mind paying tax but please make it simpler?


  1. The sheer amount of money that it requires to collect often a relatively small amount of cash really does make a mockery of all this form filling. On line or not. Somewhere in their records the IR have almost all of the information already anyway!

  2. Writing in the Times Newspaper Natalie Haynes says:
    “As I’ve already done my tax return, I decided to do a bit of extra bonus maths. HMRC’s phone lines are open 84 hours a week. Assuming that full-time staff do a 42-hour week (which I’m sure they don’t, exactly, but it’s half of 84, and I only have a pencil, so give me a break. I’m not taking off Bank Holidays and Christmas, either), that means 5,250 staff working at any one time. They answered 59 million calls last year. That’s 2.57 calls per person, per hour. If they’d also answered every one of the calls they ditched, that would still only have brought them up to 4.49 calls per person per hour.”

    The trouble is that this government want to micromanage every part of our lives. The systems that they have created are complicated, and require huge amounts of people to run them. It is time to dismantle the behemoth, and move to a government where we have much less interference, and then lower taxation

  3. There are alot of benefits of on-line connection with the Government. For example the renewal of tax discs is a breeze now. We can give them £175 of our already pre-taxed income in about 50 seconds. Nice - but it saves the queuing at Birch Hill post office to be told by some functionary that your 'papers' are not in order.

  4. Billo - yes there could be massive savings if it was more joined up.

    Alvin - Here Here the government really cant micro manage everything like they are trying to do. We need to reduce the size of our government its too expensive.

    Realaler - True the Car tax system does work well and the passport system, proof that it can be done well.