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Where are we going with HMRC?

Dealing with the Revenue on a daily basis, I have to say that the times we live in at the moment are the most turbulent I’ve ever experienced.

Local offices have disappeared at a rate of knots.

The drive to centralisation is relentless.

Call centres seem to be at the heart of day to day dealings.

When I started in the profession some 37 years ago Tax Inspectors were treated with a degree of respect and of course distrust, but you knew they had as their drive the object of the taxpayer paying what he or she was due, no more no less. You could have a dialogue with them and cases were dealt with sensibly and amicably.

In the 1990’s one Inspector said to me after an enquiry had been finalised:

“If you’re unhappy and I’m unhappy, then we’ve probably got the right result.”

Today? Well with all due respect, I’d rather deal with today’s Inspector than those around in the 1990’s. Our clients agree. HMRC drive on into the Digital world and I’m quite certain they would be happy if they didn’t have to deal with those “pesky” accountants and tax advisers.

Getting the correct amount of tax doesn’t seem that important because there is now a penalty regime which in my view is skewed entirely in favour of HMRC. A half hashed job, getting some tax and topping up with a penalty seems to be the direction we are headed in.

The dash for cash drives on.