My words in her mind: cold polished stones sinking through a quagmire. - James Joyce.
As you will recall, last September we wrote a blog entry called UK PAYE Chaos. The post was a summary of the PAYE issues arising from:
- The implementation of the new HMRC computer system (NPS) which led to a backlog in the reconciliation of PAYE cases and large amounts of under/overpaid tax by PAYE workers;
- The National Audit Office (NAO) 2010 report which highlighted that there were also 18 million "open" cases from prior to 2008/09 again with large amounts of over/underpaid tax.
The figures involved went something like this (more detail is available in the original post):
- Estimated Total Tax Overpaid by PAYE taxpayers: £4.8 billion
- Estimated Total Tax Underpaid by PAYE taxpayers: £3.4 billion
At the time, the NAO estimated it would take 4 years for HMRC to clear its backlog.
It seems that HMRC has been working away on its 18 million backlog as The Sun and the Daily Telegraph reported last week that HMRC has announced that another 1 million people are to start receiving tax repayments or tax requests. It should not really come as a surprise (although it will if a request lands on your doorstep); the NAO was adamant in its report that many of these 18 million open cases would lead to an under/over payment.
Anyone working in the field will be aware that HMRC is continuously under-resourced and under severe pressure. The last six months have really brought HMRC into the public eye and to be quite frank they are losing the public trust at an alarming rate. We've said it here before: now is not the time to implement a 15% staff cut and we hope the Government is listening.