4 August 2014 by Crystal HR & Payroll Ltd
An independent complaints review body has ordered HMRC to pay £4.4m in refunds and write-offs last year and upheld 94% of PAYE complaints.
The tax adjudicator – currently Judy Clements OBE – reviews complaints against HMRC, as well as against the Valuation Office Agency and the Insolvency Service.
Her annual report for 2013/14 shows that 90% of customer complaints about HMRC have been upheld. Complaints to the adjudicator are typically about mistakes, unreasonable delays, poor advice or inappropriate staff behaviour.
The total amount paid out in redress on the adjudicator’s recommendation was £4,369,258, up from £1,194,031 the year before. The total includes tax credit overpayments written off, as well as costs reimbursed and compensatory payments.
Poor complaints handling cost HMRC £142,596, it paid out £103,498 for causing “worry and distress”, incurred £180,615 in costs and wrote off £3,942,549 in wrongful demands for payment.
In 2013-14, the adjudicator handled 12,074 inquiries and resolved 2,311 cases, upholding 90% either partially or substantially. During the year, the adjudicator resolved over 2,000 complaints from HMRC customers. The number of PAYE complaints upheld increased to 94% and for Tax Credits the upheld rate was 88.5%.
Commenting on her report, Judy Clements OBE, said: “The statistics from the work of my office are a stark reminder there is no place for complacency, particularly when this year 90% of HMRC customer complaints have been upheld.
“My case studies also reflect this and I am again disappointed to see HMRC staff still overlooking the needs of some vulnerable customers.”