Over the last week or so the efficiency (or lack of it) at HMRC has suddenly been picked up by the mainstream news media following the announcements of lots of PAYE taxpayers facing over and underpayments.
I’ve heard lots of complete rubbish talked about tax by journalists who obviously haven’t a clue. But the key point may be that finally the general public and hopefully politicians have woken up to the realities of life at the Revenue which we experience all the time.
Even Dave Hartnett, top man at the Revenue was forced to recant after refusing initially to apologise: “I am deeply sorry that people are facing an unexpected tax bill,” Hartnett said in a statement. “Everyone in HMRC is working hard to make this as painless as possible. I apologise if my remarks came across as insensitive.”
So, should he have apologised? Well, the whole system is in crisis and, as I often tell people UK tax is neither fair nor simple and has not been for many years. But then again, is that the fault of the Revenue or has the system simply keeled over because politicians have created far too much tax complexity over the last 10 years.
We need a massive simplification otherwise it will never work.
Alternatively we could hire privatised tax collectors, Roman style – Come back Zacchaeus all is forgiven!