HMRC Acknowledges Christmas


Paul McKay

A vastly experienced tax professional with over 35 years’ experience of advising PLCs, not for profits but predominantly SME/OMBs and professional advisers on most aspects of tax. Paul has a broad background including working for big 4, tax boutiques and a large local practice, and joined ETC Tax in October 2017.

As we have explored in earlier articles HMRC may have many failings but in the writer’s opinion most HMRC officers try to do a good job and act professionally. I find this surprising as moral at HMRC must be low as like every other government department they have had staff cutbacks alongside the closure of many offices and most staff will in the next couple of years be “ centralised “ in 12 regional offices.

I recently spoke to HMRC’s Debt Management Department this is the “ heavy brigade “ department within HMRC’s debt collection team and the one where persistent debt end up for collection. Whereas, the normal debt collection teams are generally reasonable and practical in their approach Debt Management are the very opposite, inflexible and dogmatic.

They will claim that they have a job to do, however, HMRC have for a number of years been using external debt collection agencies and the suspicion is that there are targets to be met no matter what.

It was, therefore, a surprise when I was told that Debt Management were backing off from collecting a debt for Christmas. Perhaps HMRC does have a collective heart after all, or it may be one local manager using discretion.

In any event happy holidays and a prosperous new year.

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