A Ben Nevis of mail

June 14, 2011 4:37 PM

An article in this week's Sunday Times (not available online)  nicely captured how complex the tax system is. The paper enquired about how long it takes for staff to respond to mail from taxpayers; the outcome shouldn't be surprising for those who have had to sit and wait for HMRC to get back to them. Staff told journalists that letters received at the start of this week may not be acted on until August. Letters they have outstanding stand taller than Ben Nevis.

[caption id="attachment_38584" align="alignright" width="200" caption="I can answer this one, the rest are too complicated"][/caption]

Of course, this can cost individuals and small businesses money while they await the outcomes of their enquiries, appeals, or whatever the case may be. Not only that, it can cause quite a lot of stress, too.

The HMRC rep for the Public Commercial Services Union said the problems are down to HMRC not having enough staff. I'd say that the bewildering tax system is actually to blame. If we had a drastically simpler tax system then taxpayers and businesses would not have to write so many letters. Stories about HMRC over or underpaying taxpayers are all too common and they are apparently due to computer systems, not staff. The tax code is far too long. Simplify the system, cut out the mistakes and stop the letters. Make it easy for individuals and businesses to understand what they are paying, and how much. We need a simpler tax system, hopefully the 2020 Tax Commission the TaxPayers' Alliance is running with the Institute of Directors can get us there.

See this video to find out how absurdly complicated the tax system has become

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/omg9rzf4GDM 500 314]An article in this week's Sunday Times (not available online)  nicely captured how complex the tax system is. The paper enquired about how long it takes for staff to respond to mail from taxpayers; the outcome shouldn't be surprising for those who have had to sit and wait for HMRC to get back to them. Staff told journalists that letters received at the start of this week may not be acted on until August. Letters they have outstanding stand taller than Ben Nevis.

[caption id="attachment_38584" align="alignright" width="200" caption="I can answer this one, the rest are too complicated"][/caption]

Of course, this can cost individuals and small businesses money while they await the outcomes of their enquiries, appeals, or whatever the case may be. Not only that, it can cause quite a lot of stress, too.

The HMRC rep for the Public Commercial Services Union said the problems are down to HMRC not having enough staff. I'd say that the bewildering tax system is actually to blame. If we had a drastically simpler tax system then taxpayers and businesses would not have to write so many letters. Stories about HMRC over or underpaying taxpayers are all too common and they are apparently due to computer systems, not staff. The tax code is far too long. Simplify the system, cut out the mistakes and stop the letters. Make it easy for individuals and businesses to understand what they are paying, and how much. We need a simpler tax system, hopefully the 2020 Tax Commission the TaxPayers' Alliance is running with the Institute of Directors can get us there.

See this video to find out how absurdly complicated the tax system has become

[iframe http://www.youtube.com/embed/omg9rzf4GDM 500 314]

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