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Is "progress" disenfranchising the non-technical population?

A couple of incidents recently highlighted have highlighted how easily “progress” can isolate people and prevent them from getting help, and those people are often the neediest.As a tax professional I am used to the bureaucracy of HM Revenue & Customs, though even for me it can be extremely frustrating. I received a form from HMRC concerning a pensions coding (Form P161 for the initiated). It was addressed to my firm, but did not have the taxpayer-client’s name on it, only the National Insurance number. I could not trace the number in my tax software and telephoned HMRC … Continue Reading

A week of curiosities and a valuable reminder

It has been a strange week. On Monday I went to see a client to collect his tax papers, only to find that they were in a locked cabinet to which only his wife had the key, and she was out. It was a short meeting as a result, and I did wonder why my client had not telephoned to save me the journey.Two less eventful days ensued, and I went to my monthly local meeting of tax practitioners on Thursday. “Tell me, everyone” I said, “what do you guys do in the way of marketing?” Six … Continue Reading

Has common courtesy had its day?

I try not to make this a whingeing blog. For that reason, if I complain about our dear friends at HM Revenue & Customs, it is the system, bureaucracy and stilted thinking that annoys me, not the staff who have to carry out the wishes of their masters. I cannot recall in recent years ever having had a difficult conversation with a Revenue employee, other than in the rare context that the person was not prepared to strike the best deal I had hoped for concerning a client under enquiry. Certainly there have never been angry exchanges.Having put … Continue Reading