£8million written off for corporate giant but chasing tax paying individuals for £1,500 – disgusting!
How would you feel if your supplier wrote off £8million of debt due to them from a customer but chased you for less than £1,500.
Hardly a treat – much more of a trick really!
Would that be a supplier that you would continue to deal with?
Describing tax payers as customers is exactly what HMRC do in their so called ‘Our Charter’.
A charter that states:
“We will be even-handed in the way we deal with you…we will act with integrity.”
So how is it that the top man at HMRC, David Harnett, continues to keep his job after admitting “a mistake was made” in granting Goldman Sachs a reprieve on the interest it owed to HMRC.
Not an insignificant amount of interest – some estimate it between £8m and £10m.
Well obviously HMRC collect the money but this is on behalf of the Treasury. So a gap to plug there of a conservative estimate of £8million, although Harnett hasn’t confirmed the actual amount.
This is the same Harnett who supports chasing 1.4million tax payers for an average of just under £1,500 in underpaid PAYE tax.
An HMRC debacle that continues to drag on for over a year and must be costing HMRC a fortune in the administration of the how sorry affair!
September 2010 saw HMRC admit that they hadn’t performed annual reconciliations of the amount of tax that individuals pay through the pay as you earn (PAYE) system.
An omission of administrative neglect that resulted in 6 million tax payers paying the incorrect amount of tax.
Of the 6 million, 1.4 million owed HMRC an average of just under £1,500. The process of collecting these amounts has been plagued by inadequate handling of the issue by HMRC.
Little consistency has been applied to their approach resulting in exactly the same circumstances having the underpayment demand written off whilst others are being chased relentlessly for the debts.
Far from the HMRC promised even handed approach.
There is no dispute that this tax was due and should have been paid by the tax payer on their earned income at the time it was received.
However it hasn’t been collected and HMRC have allowed several years of tax to build up and go uncollected.
Imagine if your electricity provider had been incorrectly charging you for the last seven years and sent you a letter demanding repayment of the amount you had underpaid during that time.
How would you feel? What would your response be?
I suspect that in the main people would believe that the amount should be written off, the errors rectified and the correct amount collected from this point forward.
Especially if they learnt that the supplier had written off a debt of £8million owed by a very large customer but continued to pursue them for the small amount that they owed.
Even-handed and integrity are not words that can be used to describe Harnett’s HMRC when such stories like this emerge.
£8million may well be a drop in the ocean compared to the multi-billion pound deficit of the UK.
But it is a drop that I would prefer to see in our deficit ocean.
To quote a well-known supermarket, “Every little helps”.
Will Harnett fall on his sword for his mistake. I doubt it but, frankly, he needs to get HMRC in shape to shore up these stupid errors and collect tax due to the Treasury in an efficient and effective manner.
If he is incapable of doing so then let’s find someone who can.
Someone who can apply ‘Our Charter’ to all acts performed by HMRC and turn it into a Government department to be proud of and not embarrassed by.