Tuesday 1 June 2010


Surprise, Surprise.

A new computer system at the Inland Revenue has resulted in mistakes in tax deductions for tens for thousands of people, many of whom have been left out of pocket until the money can be refunded. Pensioners, whose tax codes are complex, are as you might expect, among those worst hit.

People have had their personal tax allowances removed and been placed on higher tax codes or even had a '1' inserted in front of their salary, putting their taxable income by £100,000.

The Revenue has also admitted its call centres are "exceptionally busy" and that callers "are finding it difficult to get through to an adviser" and some have been disconnected before they can report their problems. Nice service guys. That’s what we pay you for NOT. Note to George....Sort it!

Although the problem first came to light in January, so it can hardly be blamed on the current government, HMRC has never publicly disclosed how many people had been affected. However, it is now reckoned that there could be up to 100,000 people affected in total.

Despite the awful service from the call centre, employers are still being advised that if they have enquiries from employees or pensioners about this to ask them to contact the Revenue in the usual way,....so that they can be ignored, or rather cut off after they have struggled through countless mechanical exercises in getting to the correct destination.

HMRC said that more customers had been contacting them because they wanted to query the coding used in their April pay packets. Noooooo, surely not?

They said: "We are aware that some customers, because of the increase in demand, are finding it
difficult to get through to an adviser and we apologise for this and are doing all we can to meet the need.

"Inevitably at busy times we may be unable to answer all our calls. We are working hard to maintain a good customer service. We know, for instance, that some customers have been frustrated by being disconnected after they have been through the … messaging system, but before they speak to an adviser. We are now taking new measures to help prevent this from happening."

Actually it’s not really “inevitable” at all, and I can’t see why they think it would be. They knew about this mistake in January. They might reasonably have expected that if they didn’t fix it by April there would be a high demand for their service from confused, frustrated and sometime seriously worried “customers” or taxpayers as ordinary people would call them. So really the only inevitability is that they could expect one hell of a lot of complaints.

It begs the question ... why didn’t they prepare for this....?

The problem, needless to say, comes from the introduction of a new system, which combines information on National Insurance contributions and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) for the first time. But in some cases the system has incorrect information about earnings, meaning some people incorrectly being placed in the wrong tax band.

HMRC admitted the number affected was unknown becau
se staff were not recording how many cases they had dealt with. Or maybe they just don’t want us to know how badly they have messed up...

I’ve dealt with the Revenue and frankly it gets about 6 out of 10 for politeness. but 2 out of 10 for reliability. My experience was that nothing gets done till you push and push and get cross. Then it gets done wrong and you have to start all over again.

I wish the people who have been wrongly coded the very best of luck in trying to get it sorted. They'll surely need it.


  1. nae joy wi the jobcentre eitherJune 01, 2010 10:40 pm

    I had the same problem with the jobcentre.
    They advertise jobs then when you phone them up they give you a merry dance.
    Here's Boab who had similar problems to me..


  2. That's awesome....

    Seriously, I've done that kind of work and that's a wind up, sure, but it's as near the truth as makes no difference.....

    And I'm not joking.

  3. tris

    Aye it's a cracker. Good photoset of Dundee aswell ! Apart from The View at Dryburgh ; )

  4. Yea agreed nea joy... strange how nice it is to see your own town from the camera's angle. I couldn't work out Court House Square for a few seconds...

  5. tris

    Carol was good on the phones under difficult circumstances. Better than this woman at Hampden switchboard talking to Hector Brocklebank fae Newmachar.


  6. Agreed. She was indeed.

  7. The situation is hardly going to get any better when the 6 billion of cuts come along. So expect things to get worse rather than better now that “New Politics”®is in harness.

  8. PSML @ nae joy wi the jobcentre either.

    I just listened to the clip on YouTube and it was hysterical. So the poor guy is just going to carry on burgling lol.

    As for the Inland Revenue, this lot are remedial at the best of times and on several occasions my own wages department have spent the best part of a day on the phone to this lot sorting out inaccurate tax codes etc.

    I know I will sound a bit Toryish but the Inland Revenue is the sort of department that should be privatized because then its staff will be expected to perform better as the government would have set out stricter guidelines and compliance targets than the wishy washy resources wasting rubbish we have now.

    When I left my last job to join the company I now work I was put on emergency tax for a while because I went abroad for a few months and I wasn't too bothered because and new I would get the money back. However it took 8 months before I eventually received a cheque from the Inland Revenue and that was after dozens of phone calls and emails. The amount of extra tax I payed was over £3,000 and was set at nearly 30%.

    The whole Inland Revenue is a shambles.

  9. I thought it was a privatised agency Allan, like JC+. I could be wrong.

    Whatever it is, it is a shambles.

  10. Allan.... Did you get all of your £3,000 back?

    Have you spent it all yet?

    LOL <;¬)

  11. Tris

    I don't think it is because when you email them they have (gov/uk) in the url but I could be wrong lol.

    Yes I got my £3,000 back but not spent all of it yet lol.

  12. Ahhhh... I'll be round tonight mate, and we can sort out the burden of that money in your bank account... Mine's a pint of Stella!