Millions of individuals have been consigned to a limbo in which they will remain, ridden with anxiety as a result of a leaked email which raises the strong possibility that their tax bill for 2013 was miscalculated for the second time this year.
The latest development follows on from Her Majesty Revenue & Customs (HMRC) cock-up earlier this year, which by their own admission involved the collection of incorrect amounts from roughly 5.5m people in the 12 months leading up to April 2014. It is the restorative process deriving from this initial mis-management that has yielded further administrative failure, to the downright detriment of individuals across the UK.
Canaries from HMRC sung a lamentable song as far as consumers are concerned, with one spokesman for the body inferring that taxpayers have every right to lose trust in the taxman. On top of having to contend with the tribulations that accompany paying a fresh yearly tax, hard-working citizens will have to live with the heavy weight of monetary uncertainty burdening their everyday activity.
It is no surprise critics have called for the jobs of the incompetents who failed to conduct themselves befittingly of state-run, esteemed organisation whose primary objective is the management of societyís monetary relationship with the state. These offenders had one job ñ a job which embodies the fundamentals of the HMRC, and their through botching of proceedings renders them entirely unemployable as far as matters of tax collection are concerned.
HMRC said tens of thousands of people will be directly affected ñ a slight proportion of the UK population, but it is the insecurity resulting from the doubt faced by every taxpayer across the country that the taxman cannot hope to assuage.
The principal powers within HRMC distributed an internal email amongst senior accountants and officials raising the problem of fudged taxes. However, despite the taxmansí insistence that they are ëurgently investigating the matterí, HMRC admitted they ëdo not know the scale of the issueí. That confounding ineptitude aside, HMRC did concede that ëlarge employersí were involved, implying huge scores of employees are likely to be affected.
The email also advises accountants to inform anyone questioning the legitimacy of their tax bill ënot to repay any underpayment of taxí, which can be interpreted as a courtesy measure underlined by sheepishness, ignorant of the inequalities inherent of a taxpayer not paying their dues, administrative error or not.
HMRC also wrote that any individual previously identified as having overpaid their tax ought not to cash any cheques they have been sent, as if a mistake is found that cash could be snatched back by HMRC.
“HMRC refuses to admit the system doesn’t work, and it’s scandalous that there is no politician holding them to account as the whole programme of welfare reform could be put at risk because of this,” a spokesman said.
“The system is not fit for purpose, it’s inherently flawed and routinely produces errors that cause a huge mess for families and employers.
These errors persistently occur despite the HMRC trying to address them. The implementation of a Real Time Information (RTI) system at a cost of £270m was intended to address the HMRCíS structural shortcomings. However, this system was evidently inadequate in its role in tax collection, proving insufficiently capable of processing the greater amounts of information the HMRC accrued this year.
HMRC has played down their mistake, stating no taxpayer will lose money when this situation is resolved. However, the ineptitude infusing this entire debacle is inexcusable and as such financial heads down at the HMRC must roll. Recent proposals soaked in controversy, including the power to take tax directly from an individualís bank account, form a war-chest of aggressive tactics deployed by the HMRC. Their latest failure ought to represent a watershed moment for policymakers and public alike ñ donët bite off more than you can chew, no matter how sharp your teeth are.
Stuart Phillips, director of tax advisers at the Private Office, said: ìIf the Revenue continues to make these kinds of mistake it completely undermines confidence in the tax system – and particularly new and aggressive efforts to collect more tax such as lifting money directly from people’s bank accounts.î