Tax credits deadline hit by overtime ban

A self-imposed overtime ban undertaken by HM Revenue & Customs staff
could lead to major delays in processing tax credit renewals by the 31 July

The ban, which began on Monday, has been backed by the Public and Commercial
Services Union – which represents senior HMRC officials – and covers thousands
of HMRC staff.

Peter Lockhart, national officer for the PCS, said that the processing
division of HMRC will be immediately affected, as this is where the majority of
overtime is offered.

The union wants HMRC to stop overtime and use the money to pay for full-time

‘We don’t think their new methods of leaner working have been successful,’
Lockhart added.

A recent National Audit Office report revealed that HMRC spends £433m a year
in staff costs on processing income tax and tax credits, including £44m (10%) on
overtime and temporary staff to manage peak periods.

Lockhart said this figure highlights an excessive use of funding that could
have been better spent retaining full-time staff.

‘We think that some overtime will inevitably be justified to cover genuine
peaks of work – but 10% is just too much,’ he said.

According to Mike Warburton, personal tax partner at Grant Thornton, staffing
numbers within HMRC have been reducing at a time when the complexity of taxes is

‘That’s one thing that’s led to the dispute and it can only make matters
worse,’ he said.

In a statement, HMRC said it was ‘disappointedÕ by the union’s stance but it
believed that services would not be disrupted.

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