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HMRC are just too busy to take telephone calls from Taxpayers

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Posted by: Tony Margaritelli | Last modified on 01/03/2019

Contained within the Latest Agent Update under the banner EU Exit we learned that the late filing penalty notices relating to the 31st January 2019 filing deadline would not be sent out until the end of April 2019. The daily penalty which starts if filings have not been made 3 months after the deadline will be sent out at the normal time which is of course May.

So, no sooner have you been notified that you have not filed a Return and it’s going to cost £100 then you will receive notification of daily penalties virtually the next day.

Is this acceptable? No, of course not, is it reasonable that this information was basically put out in a manner geared to reduce the furore that would inevitably follow? Of course not. We are told that the reason for this delay is because when the fines are raised it causes lots of work for call centres and the back office, now that’s a shock isn’t it. HMRC render a fine and are surprised that people get in touch wanting an explanation and no doubt help but because HMRC want to ”release those staff for EU Exit related work” we can basically staunch the flow by not telling anyone until we are ready for their calls and if it costs the taxpayer more money, so be it.

An astonishing admission is it not?

Basically, here we have a Government Department shouting out “We can’t cope” and making taxpayers suffer because they decided that they could make human cuts as a result of technological advances forgetting that as yet the populous still want that human involvement. Equally important is the fact that “volumes of work” or the “inability to cope with unexpected demands on available time” is not accepted by HMRC as a valid excuse for filing a late Tax Return.

So in a nutshell you have everything you need to know about the HMRC we have at the moment which plays fast and lose with taxpayers when it suits them, that demands a higher level of commitment from taxpayers than it is prepared to accept for itself and is prepared to hide their deficiencies behind an apology whilst refusing to accept the same from a taxpayer.