New cutbacks over at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs will almost certainly lead to more errors like the tax code fiasco that has so far affected millions of taxpayers, experts have claimed.
News of the cutbacks come at a time when more complaints against HMRC have been upheld than ever before, sparking new concerns over the manner in which the United Kingdom's tax authority is being run.
Last year 446 complaints against HMRC were completely upheld, which is almost double the 229 of 2009, which itself is more than double the 108 in 2008. This continued increase, 313 percent over two years, is a shocking figure to digest, especially as citizens who make minor errors when dealing with HMRC's confusing forms are often harshly punished.
With 10,000 job cuts planned, the general consensus amongst experts and commentators is that an already poor service is set to descend into new depths of inadequacy.
The damning figures were discovered by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young, where a spokesman said: “The level of service at HMRC is now a huge concern. There has been a succession of major errors in the past few years, from incorrect PAYE codes to lengthening delays in issuing tax rebates. Even getting a response to a letter of enquiry can now take months. There have been big cuts in staffing levels since the merger between the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise in 2005. A further 10,000 job losses at HMRC were announced in the spending review. HMRC is struggling for manpower as it is, so these cutbacks will put further pressure on performance levels.”
Last year there were a seemingly endless supply of stories detailing varying different levels of errors at HMRC HQ. From tax code cock-ups to National Insurance mistakes, 2010 was the year when HMRC could do no right. However, with mass job cuts on the horizon, the fear is that this situation could get a lot worse before it gets any better.