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‘Careless’ errors cost HMRC £354k in tax complaints redress

HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS is being criticised for failing to stem a rise in tax complaints, which more than doubled in 2012-2013 compared with the previous year.

The Adjudicator’s Office, which handles complaints against HMRC and other bodies, said the rise was “extremely disappointing”, particularly as many cases included “careless and avoidable” errors.

Tax gripes – about PAYE in particular – dominated the number of new investigations handled by the Adjudicator about HMRC, which totalled 2,574 in the period. There were 1,331 complaints about taxation issues, up 107% on the previous year.

Of the 1,354 cases resolved in the same period, 60% were either ‘partially’ or ‘substantially’ upheld. As a result, it paid out a total of £354,321 in redress.

In its annual report, the Adjudicator’s Office said it was “extremely disappointing” the volumes of incoming cases from HMRC customers did not reduce as it had expected. It added it had been forced to recruit a significant number of additional temporary staff to cope.

It was also critical of the way HMRC handled the complaints: “Many of the cases reviewed included careless and avoidable errors which had not been identified or put right during HMRC’s handling of the complaint.”

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