Thousands waiting for tax refund as HMRC struggles with backlog

Thousands waiting for tax refund as HMRC struggles with backlog

HM Revenue and Customs has fallen behind with myriad requests, accumulating a significant backlog of taxpayers’ refunds, claims and penalty appeals. 

An analysis of HMRC’s performance shows that targets are not being met in 14 out of 27 service categories, with long phoneline wait times and various gaffes, including destroying a woman’s will and chasing a business for debts that it did not owe, The Times reports.

After it was revealed in March that hundreds of civil servants at the DVLA had done no work for long periods during the pandemic, scrutiny is being brought to other government bodies.

David Feldman, a tax adviser in Cambridgeshire and former HMRC tax investigator, said clients would be waiting “routinely a year” for resolutions to tax disputes.

Mr Feldman said: “When I saw that the Metropolitan Police had been put in special measures I thought the same should apply to HMRC. The service is worse than at any time when I worked there.”

In the case of the destroyed will, HMRC apologised and admitted that the document “was not recognised by our scanning partners”, who accidentally destroyed it. It compensated the affected party with £500.

A spokesperson for HMRC said: “We’re sorry that customers have experienced delays with some of our services. Overall customer satisfaction is above 80 per cent but we know there’s more to do and we’re recruiting more staff.”

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