HMRCSpeak to any accountant who works with small businesses and they’ll tell you HMRC are a nightmare to deal with. Their systems, both technical and procedural, just aren’t fit for purpose

The accounting forum on UKBF is full of war stories. A company I’m involved with (not KashFlow) is owed around £4.5k as a tax rebate. So far it’s been over 3 months since it was asked for and we’re no closer to getting it.

The “accepted” procedure to claim a rebate seems to be to write to HMRC three or four times, then call them to find out why they’ve not responded. You then get told they never received your letters. Then write again another three or four times before phoning for the latest excuse. Thankfully the company can survive even with the cashflow problems this creates.

If it wasn’t such a complete waste of everyones time it’d be funny.

I say “everyones time” but invariably it’s the accountants that lose out. Our accountants don’t charge us more because of HMRCs ineptitude. HMRC don’t re-imburse the accountant for the wasted hours spent writing and chasing letters and making phone calls. So it’s the accountants loss. We all, as taxpayers, also lose out indirectly due the huge waste of resources (funded by us) at HMRC.

There are a number of bodies that represent accountants, with the ICAEW being one of the more prominent. What I don’t understand is why none of these bodies appear to be doing anything to redress this situation that has been going on for years.

I’m amazed that questions aren’t being asked in parliament about this. The overall cost to the economy must be quite significant.

Why do accountants seem resigned to unquestioningly playing their role in this farce?

Why aren’t they asking their industry bodies to use their combined clout to get something done?

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