Imagine my surprise (spoiler alert…none) when this Saturday’s wholesome brekka with a coffee and the newspapers was rudely interrupted by the taxman.
There wasn’t someone in a bowler hat rapping at the door with an umbrella.
If there was, there is always the very real threat that I might break into a Mary Poppins number!
No, sadly, it was a BLARING headline in that most steady of publications, “The Times”, that
caused me to bolt my bacon, abandon my avocado and perform a sharp egg-sit from the table.
It transpires that not only are people waiting months for money they are owed, they reported
that some tasks that should be taking 15 days are taking 10 months to complete!
Now, hyperbole aside, this is alarming.
Almost as alarming as blaming it on “fat fingers” – their words not mine – which saw one poor
business being chased for money it didn’t owe.
Making Tax “Digital” indeed!
It appears targets are being missed in 14 out of 27 service categories.
This includes the BIGGIES too, self assessment refunds and appeals against penalties.
So if this includes you, press on gentle reader as I guide you through the latest show of sh*t.
They’ve blamed a number of factors, with home working a convenient stick they appear to have
found in their overgrown and weed infested garden.
The Times’ analysis revealed that the worst service area was helping people to get a refund
from income tax deducted from savings, missing their 15 day target by a mere 140 days.
Meanwhile, disputes over a tax overpayment took 138 days instead of 15.
Alarmingly, with business on the up and fees increasing for many performers, making group
business registrations for VAT took 76 days against a target of 30; and registering a commercial
property for VAT took 214 days instead of 30.
More on what that might mean for you as you approach the VAT threshold next week.
An HMRC spokesman said: “We’re sorry that customers have experienced delays with some of
our services. Overall customer satisfaction is above 80%, but we know there’s more to do and
we’re recruiting more staff.”
Righto, that’s nice to know that you’re sorry HMRC.
Meanwhile, please, please, please realise that if you are banking on any kind of swift turnaround
on your affairs at HMRC, stop it.
Please also check how close you are sailing to the VAT threshold.
To recap, it is £85,000.
If you don’t get registered sharpish, you’ll be the one with egg on your face and that’s no yolk.