Tuesday, 18th December 2012
CALLING THE TAX MAN TO PAY TAXES COSTS YOU MONEY – With the amount of paperwork required to file your taxes, and with the amount of ambiguous questions, it is not unreasonable or unexpected, that people will need to telephone their local tax office for advice in completing the tax documents correctly. This after all ensures that the correct amount of tax is paid and more importantly you don’t underpay that will incur fines and other penalties that would increase your tax exposure.
But wait for it, according to a report in the Daily Mail, the Inland Revenue is charging UK Taxpayers approximately £30 million a year in phone charges, due to the Premium Rate Numbers used and the fact that the so called help is unable to help and therefore has to keep you hanging on the phone while they go and find out the answer to your question.
Now if you think that is bad enough then consider that it is also reported that the cost in time wasted is a staggering £100 million. The conclusion here is that the tax man, to collect your taxes is costing you, the taxpayer, a whopping £130 million, simply because of the incompetence within the HMRC.
We are all aware of companies and organizations that use the 0845 dialing prefix and most of us are well aware that calls to these numbers are charged at a premium rate and that rate is set by the company or organization running the 0845 prefix. By law any company or organisation must make the caller aware by printing clear information as to the exact charge per minute. The cost of calling HMRC varies, using their 0845 dialing prefix however it can, as reports suggest, cost up to 41p per minute.
Now for something even more shocking… Consider a moment the cost to the Taxpayer each year and now consider that it was estimated that last year the HMRC failed to answer over 20 million calls. Considering this information just imagine what the true cost to the Taxpayer would have been if every single call had been answered.
What does this really tell us? For starters the amount of telephone calls indicates that millions of UK Taxpayers really don’t have a clue how to fill out their tax forms and this could be for a number of reasons, including the simple fact that the Government is not exactly renowned in producing information that is simple to digest and understand. You would think that from such a clear indication that the system does not work that the Government would find an alternative system to ensure everyone pays the correct tax in the easiest possible method.
“This report exposes a shameful level of service at HMRC. Taxpayers will be outraged.” - Matthew Sinclair, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance.
It does make you wonder that in an electronic age why we really need paperwork in the first place. It is not unreasonable to expect that an online system could be built that literally walks you through the process of filing your tax returns with ease?
There is never a more wasteful entity than government and often their actions are unaccountable but when it comes to the Taxpayer, not only are we provided with a substandard service we are expected to pay an exorbitant price for the privilege. When will the people of the UK finally draw a line in the sand say enough is enough?