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HMRC on strike

30 July 2014 No Comment

Is it worth phoning HMRC? Do the staff in the call centres actually have any expertise? If you’re promised a return call, do they actually call you back? In our experience the answer to all these questions is an emphatic “no”!

Today, staff at HMRC are going on strike (for three days) to protest about staffing levels. We have long known that things are not getting done. We gave up phoning HMRC in 2006 and started a process of sending them everything in writing. That way, if there is ever any argument, we can demonstrate a paper trail to a judge. In fact, in 2006 all those letters went in by Recorded Delivery. When HMRC routinely stopped signing for “Recorded Delivery” letters because (according to them) “there are just too many” we quickly switched to sending them in by “Special Delivery”. Even then, they still routinely fail to sign for some of them, particularly at AOB in Bradford!

Anyway, eight years on from that, we have a fixed routine of preparing letters on paper and shipping them out to various tax offices last thing on every Friday. Reminders about unanswered HMRC letters go out 28 days after the original letter.

We also have a “three strikes and out” policy. So, if HMRC fails to respond to three letters in a row, we put in an official complaint to Bootle. Even then, we occasionally get no response. That ultimately leads to a second complaint to the Senior Complaints Division in Nottingham.

Do they have a staffing problem? Yes!


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