Today Program

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Kitmarlowe, Sep 9, 2010.

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  1. There was a nice chap from HMRC on Radio 4 this morning who explained the source of the loaming disaster that has hit HMRC. It appears that the nice shiny new PAYE System, at about £140 Million plus, was designed by the supplier to reference each record by the employee's pay roll number. That is to say each single different company's own pay roll number.

    Now, given that there are countless thousands of different Companies using a handfull of similar packages can anyone spot the drama ?

    As a result of the last regime's mania for cutting HMRC staff the current shortfall in Tax collected is suggested to range from £30-40 Billion a year and may be as much as 3 to 4 times higher than that. Think about that. £90 - �120 Billion pounds of Tax may not have been collected.

    BBC News - Today - HMRC 'at melting point' for a listen
  2. I'd rather not think about it thanks.

    So I won't.
  3. My favourite bit is that if you owe the revenue money then they will charge base rate x 5 on the debt. If the revenue owes you they will pay base rate on their debt.

    Great. A tax system so complcated that HMRC can't even get it right, yet we are likely to be punished if we didn't spot that they'd fecked it up.
  4. Marvellous system as every firm will use a similar payroll numbering system. I remember one employee getting two tax demands. When I rang to find out why, they told me she was being paid twice. One as payroll number 054 and one as payroll number 367. Whoops, they were using her tax code as a payroll number for some reason. Embarrassed silence at the other end followed by a letter cancelling the second tax demand.
    They have owed me £950 since October last year. 1st letter asked me for a payment of £350 followed by one saying they owed me £1300. Last letter I go was one in May saying they owed me the £950 but would hold on to it until they had worked out if I owed them any more. Hmmm. Both my pensions have tax stopped at source already so not holding my breath for the refund as yet.
  5. I find a letter to HMRC every six months explaining I've been dead since 2004 helps.
  6. Why would my tax bill be decreased just because I send them a letter saying you're dead?
  7. The eternal truth that small government fanatics and management 'experts' alike have failed to grasp: if you want something done then you need people to do it.

    Not even the best worded mission statement can substitute for adequate staffing.
  8. But only big-government fanatics want a tax system that is so byzantine that it requires so many people to administer.

    This small-government fanatic's ideal system is so simple that you could outsource it to preschoolers. A tax return for the average salaried taxpayer would look something like this:

    1: Name:
    2: address:
    3: NI number:
    4: how much did you make this year?:
    5: multiply the last figure by X percent:
    6: how much has already been paid through PAYE?:
    7: 5-6
    if the answer to 7 is positive, write us a cheque for that amount. If the answer to 7 is negative, we will write you a cheque for that amount.

    You can argue all you like about question 5 as to whether they should be tax free allowances or what have you (that's not for here), but for 90+ percent of taxpayers I really cannot see why it needs to be any more complicated than that.
  9. I think the statement you made might explain why it is more complicated than that.

    The little snippet of how you can ask for the tax to be waived if you think you have declared correctly is on something like page number 14,368 of the tax guide.
  10. Thouroughly agreed. The merger of the Revenue & the Customs was a complete bodge job.

    However I'd like to focus on the word "adequate". I'd argue that adequacy may not be a simple matter of headcount but the ability/diligence of that headcount.

    I've come across too many people who have been appointed on the grounds of who they know/gender/race etc rather than actual qualification to do the job. Add to this minimal monitoring of output/achievement and there's a recipe for disaster.

    Two examples. Firstly someone very senior in a Public Sector body on a salary well into six figures who charged the body for performance/life coaching at a grand a pop. I would humbly suggest that if this person needed all that coaching were they actually the best person for the post?

    Secondly one of my Civil Service Clerks who worked flexi-time like a genius. She'd arrive at the earliest possible hour (which was well before there was anyone to supervise), turn on the PC & then spend an hour or so having breakfast, putting on makeup etc. In the latter case I don't blame the Civil Servant as her wage was very, very small...
  11. ..... and their adverts say tax doesn't have to be taxing! :roll: :roll:
  12. Perhaps it would just be best if we give all our money to the Government and they pay us an allowance according to need...
  13. I enjoyed listening to eccentric astronomer Patrick Moore on the radio a few years ago recounting how tormenting the revenue was a big hobby of his back when the whole system was much more paper-based.

    He used to carefully work out his tax, and then send them a cheque for the correct amount, plus 50 pence.

    He would then start an unrelenting correspondence war trying to recover his 50p and one of his favourite tricks was sending in replies to letters he had not received.

    Drove 'em mad apparently.

    As an aside he was a Bomber Command navigator from 1940 to 1945 and I believe he is the only man alive to have met both one of the Wright brothers and the first man to land on the moon.
  14. That's actually the thrust of one of the bright spark ideas that has been put forward to cure the faults with PAYE.

    Your employer pays your wages to HMRC and then HMRC deduct tax and pay you some money. No ideas as to how you'd get a payslip to check the figures and at least know if you're on the right tax code, not that people ever have problems getting the right tax code when they take up a new job.

    There's nothing wrong with PAYE, other than a very bad software package and a drunken mania on the part of the previous Government to ram two completely different departments together and then bin staff without actually thinking. One estimate suggests that they saved £24 million by cutting staff but lost the ablity to recover £200 Million in unpaid taxes.........
  15. The whole idea is utterly terrifying -- forget for a minute the practicalities of them screwing it up, you've also got the philosophical idea that all money belongs to the government rather than the person who earned it and that it is in the purview of government to decide how much of it it wants and to generously provide us with however much or little that they feel like.