It was reported in The Telegraph earlier this month that around 5.5 million people have not paid the correct tax during the 2013/14 tax year, 3.5m of whom now face a bill from HMRC, due to underpaid taxes. The remaining 3m who overpaid can claim it back from the 'Tax man'. It appears that the issue is with the new £270m "Real Time Information" programme, which does not record updates to financial circumstances (eg pay rise), making it less accurate than previous systems.
Having searched recent HMRC press releases and scanned the Office for National Statistics, there is no advice, information or help, in fact they seem to be keeping this one quiet! At a time when the country is in a delicate financial state and people are being urged to support the 'austerity' programme, The Government is not doing themselves any favours introducing an initiative that will challenge even the best of us. Knowing it is not 'fit for purpose', but that we are still required to 'input data', seems facile!!
The British Public are constantly being told that it is their responsibility to make sure that our tax code is right and to pay on time or face a financial penalty, but knowing that the integral part of the department is reliant on a piece of technology that doesn't seem to be holding its own in the business world is a step too far. I'm afraid we're on a roller coaster though, with HMRC in the driving seat. You could be heading towards financial ruin, whilst they are smiling and waving away on the bureaucracy wagon! They are unlikely to admit defeat and will no doubt issue a statement at some stage declaring 'teething troubles' have now been resolved and that 'they' have every faith in the new programme.until the next time!
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