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Simpatico
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



14 Posts

Posted - 18/02/2010 :  16:40:43  Show Profile Send Simpatico a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by splashin

Simpatico

I know myself how difficult it is working on the helpline, been there, seen it, done it. There are many hard working advisors, who strive to do a correct and professional job. But then you also have to look at the business side of the helpline, with this I mean statistics and what targets we have and making these achievable. So I am fully aware of how difficult it is when you are supposed to do a professional job whilst on the telephone, whilst meeting targets required.
I personally believe the system would operate much better if all advisors on the helpline where trained in full to use the NTC core system, rather than just CMA. This would then allow them to take the call, find out what needs to be done, implementing this right through to the end. Job done. Advisor's know then that what they have done, is what was requested by the claimant. Job Done.. It would also give back some job satisfaction to HMRC helpline employees.
I don't think when working the helpline, you should become detached. I think a good approach is to try and put yourself in their shoes. And empathize with them basically. If they rant and rave at you then you need to control the call, you have been trained for this type of call handling, reading off the computer screen is a big no no, I personally would prefer an automated recording than an adviser reading word for word from the computer call process screen. BUT how can helpline staff be confident that what they are doing is going to be done, when this claimant has called 18 times to give the same information? There are reasons for keeping the 2 systems separate, 1 main reason is fraud. But I can't see any problem with all HMRC Tax Credit Adviser accessing NTC, to make changes whilst the caller is still on the telephone, if they have done security checks and the claimant has passed, then they have passed. By putting it onto 1 computer system to await transfer to then be input onto NTC core is wasting time.

Simpatico, Am I right saying your using CMA as your only system or do you have access to NTC core?



Splashin



No, I have access to both and make changes while the person is on the phone.

I do put myself in a person's shoes up to a point but it's impossible to do that on every call. There are a lot of deserving people who are worried and upset and need assistance,w hich is what I try to give, but there are also a lot of people out there who just get on the phone and instantly assume they're talking to an idiot or get abusive for no reason, and to put myself in their shoes would be to display that behaviour also, so at times it is best to detach oneself from that type of call and stick to the facts without becoming emotionally involved.

I signed up there to see if I, too, could give assistance to people who genuinely need it or to those who aren't in a position to understand what can be a very complex and difficult system, but that said I do refuse to accept abuse and being talked down to from people when I am doing my day to day job as well.

It's one of those very difficult "them and us" situations, as I think Ali said, and there has to be compromise and understanding from both sides. Advisors saying "they're all stupid money grabbing idiots" and claimants saying "they're all stupid patronising idiots" gets us nowhere, so there has to be some kind of middle ground.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 19/02/2010 :  08:23:46  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Good to hear that you can access the system directly now and make the corrections the moment you take the call. It is too erratic otherwise, and there is no way of knowing that the job gets done.

In a different setting, I also can deal with angry or upset people, and I do understand that there are some people who come across as gratuitously aggressive whilst others have a genuine grievance and respond well to someone acknowledging how difficult things are for them and showing willingness to address the problem. I am sure you do all you can to show a human side and leave the caller feeling less frightened and anxious, but to my mind there are people who can do this quite naturally and others who, with all the training in the world, just can't. The fact you are here talking to us at all suggests that you can see the other side of the coin. For all I know, you may be as eager as us to see some changes within the system.

Just out of curiosity, would you have any improvements to suggest, to make things safer and fairer?

One question which has bugged me for some time is this: the government has effectively promised that people with mental health issues can have their entire overpayment written off if they send in a statement from a "professional" stating that recovery would have a detrimental impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Yet I have seen no evidence at all that it is ever done, or that it can be done. All the claimants I know with significant mental health issues are still locked in dispute with HMRC/the TCO, and it strikes me as just so much political rhetoric. Do you, or your colleagues, know of any situation in which this has been done? Of course, I would not expect identifiable examples, but I would be really interested to learn in what situations a claimant with mental health needs could expect compassion? Are there certain criteria to fulfill?

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

[emphasis added]

Edited by - Ali M-W on 19/02/2010 08:25:22
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Simpatico
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



14 Posts

Posted - 19/02/2010 :  13:55:45  Show Profile Send Simpatico a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ali M-W

Good to hear that you can access the system directly now and make the corrections the moment you take the call. It is too erratic otherwise, and there is no way of knowing that the job gets done.

In a different setting, I also can deal with angry or upset people, and I do understand that there are some people who come across as gratuitously aggressive whilst others have a genuine grievance and respond well to someone acknowledging how difficult things are for them and showing willingness to address the problem. I am sure you do all you can to show a human side and leave the caller feeling less frightened and anxious, but to my mind there are people who can do this quite naturally and others who, with all the training in the world, just can't. The fact you are here talking to us at all suggests that you can see the other side of the coin. For all I know, you may be as eager as us to see some changes within the system.

Just out of curiosity, would you have any improvements to suggest, to make things safer and fairer?

One question which has bugged me for some time is this: the government has effectively promised that people with mental health issues can have their entire overpayment written off if they send in a statement from a "professional" stating that recovery would have a detrimental impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Yet I have seen no evidence at all that it is ever done, or that it can be done. All the claimants I know with significant mental health issues are still locked in dispute with HMRC/the TCO, and it strikes me as just so much political rhetoric. Do you, or your colleagues, know of any situation in which this has been done? Of course, I would not expect identifiable examples, but I would be really interested to learn in what situations a claimant with mental health needs could expect compassion? Are there certain criteria to fulfill?

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

[emphasis added]



That's true, sadly some people don't seem to be able to deal with angry or frustrated people, and you can only be trained to handle difficult calls up to a point. I guess I'm one of the "lucky" ones, having had experience of dealing with irate people in a face to face capacity as well as over the phone.

Personally if someone comes on the phone upset and frustrated but responds well to some empathy and will at least listen to ways that things can be put right, I will spend as much time as necessary to help, albeit the help might be limited given we're not allowed to do that much, but I will at least offer advice on what to do and that kind of thing, whereas if someone doesn't respond to me trying to calm them down and just continues to yell abuse and scream then I give them fair warning and terminate the call, because you can't reason or help someone who is effing all the time.

With regard to the mental health thing, I have heard of that before somewhere, I'm sure, though I have never seen anyone's overpayment written off due to mental health problems. nor have I seen any guidance that suggests this is possible.

I have made suggestions in work about ways to simplify the whole TC process but it's one of those things where little or nothing gets done because people seem to be too busy collating stats to whack people over the head with than to listen to what people really want or need.

In my eyes, the whole tc claiming population would benefit if the process were simplified.

We got told some time ago (no word of a lie) that "studies" had been undertaken by professionals with regards to the written correspondence received at HMRC and that the average writing age of a claimant who writes to TCO is 7. Yup, 7 years of age. Now, whether or not this is true is of course arguable, but if that genuinely is the case, why is the system so complex?

For me, with regard to overpayments, there are just too many things that can go wrong, both from a claimant and HMRC perspective.

Firstly, in my eyes, there are too many changes that can occur that can cause overpayments. Things like hours dropping from 30 to 16 or from 16 to below 16 etc. Changes to income can greatly affect tax credits too, of course. We do have many people who make constant income changes depending on whether they work 31 hours for a couple of weeks and then 35 or 22 the next week. Once you've changed your income and lost the disregard it starts causing havoc with a claim if income is going up and down. Some sort of clear thresholds would be good so that unless an income went above or below a threshold - I'm talking clear thresholds for everyone to understand - then it wouldn't affect the claim.

There are of course many other things but this post would run on forever.

One thing I do say to people is PLEASE TELL US ABOUT CHNAGES. Of course overpayments are caused by HMRC error but really, there are a huge amount caused by people just not giving us information when required. Another key thing is don't assume that just because child benefit or the tax office have been told something, we will know about it too. In some cases information is passed over, but I read a post from a new member earlier who seemed sure that we had access to tax office records and could therefore tell what his income was.

We can't.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 20/02/2010 :  09:21:51  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Thanks for that. Just a quickie for now. Here's a thread on the mental health issue, in case you can shed light:

You must be logged in to see this link.

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 20/02/2010 :  09:23:01  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
In fact, I'll attach the main point here:

DMBM555620 – Tax Credits overpayments: Mental Health cases: Evidence required


The Disability and Discrimination Act 1995 defines a person with a disability as someone with a ‘physical or mental impairment which has a long-term adverse affect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities’. This definition should be used when considering the effect of the mental health problem on the claimant’s ability to repay.

The evidence should include the nature of the illness and as far as possible, whether the illness is likely to be long-term (for example schizophrenia) or where the prospects for recovery are expected to be good (such as depression).

If the initial approach is a letter from the third party explaining the mental health problem, or includes such a letter from the claimant or third party, treat this as evidence obtained, see DMBM555630.

If the required evidence is not initially available, you should write to the claimant or third party asking for documentary evidence about the nature of the illness and its prognosis (likely outcome) from the claimant’s



community psychiatric nurse
general practitioner (Note: some GP’s charge a small fee for this service)
psychiatrist
mental health social worker
other healthcare professional.

You must be logged in to see this link.


Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Simpatico
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



14 Posts

Posted - 20/02/2010 :  22:45:47  Show Profile Send Simpatico a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ali M-W

In fact, I'll attach the main point here:

DMBM555620 – Tax Credits overpayments: Mental Health cases: Evidence required


The Disability and Discrimination Act 1995 defines a person with a disability as someone with a ‘physical or mental impairment which has a long-term adverse affect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities’. This definition should be used when considering the effect of the mental health problem on the claimant’s ability to repay.

The evidence should include the nature of the illness and as far as possible, whether the illness is likely to be long-term (for example schizophrenia) or where the prospects for recovery are expected to be good (such as depression).

If the initial approach is a letter from the third party explaining the mental health problem, or includes such a letter from the claimant or third party, treat this as evidence obtained, see DMBM555630.

If the required evidence is not initially available, you should write to the claimant or third party asking for documentary evidence about the nature of the illness and its prognosis (likely outcome) from the claimant’s



community psychiatric nurse
general practitioner (Note: some GP’s charge a small fee for this service)
psychiatrist
mental health social worker
other healthcare professional.

You must be logged in to see this link.


Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.



Seriously never heard of anyone getting an overpayment written off that way, but of course, it just may not be the case with the calls I've personally handled.

It definitely sounds pretty conclusive though. I've had people on the phone who have told me that they have been diagnosed with mental illness (and also spoken to third parties who have said they are acting on behalf of someone with a mental illness.)

I realise that not everyone who has an o/p will be in such circumstances as to have a mental illness, but for those who genuinely do, it's definitely worth a mention when dealing with the main DMB line. Possibly it hasn't been brought to our attention because on the helpline we don't have anything to do with the actual remittance of overpayments.

Ali, if you have any questions you want to ask me then you can email me - if that's possible from here - and where possible I will do my best to either answer or find out the answer. I may not be the most intelligent person in the world, but I would like to help, if only in a small way.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 21/02/2010 :  00:54:09  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
<< I realise that not everyone who has an o/p will be in such circumstances as to have a mental illness .... >>

Aye, and if they don't have a mental illness at the start of their o/p dispute there's a canny chance that they will have by the time they're finished!!

"The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions.

In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed."

Adolf Hitler
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splashin
Rank; Really should become a politician



Belize
730 Posts

Posted - 21/02/2010 :  15:16:55  Show Profile Send splashin a Private Message
Hi Simpatico

It's good to know that there are people like you working for Tax Credits. And I know most advisor's do genuinely want to make it better and easier for people to claim. I don't know how long you have worked at HMRC, but I started at the beginning even before April 2003. And the system problems that occurred in the first couple of years were major. I would of thought 7 years on these teething problems would have been eradicated. And even though I will admit it is becoming better, its still these early faults that are causing the ongoing problems with overpayment's.
For every overpayment case I have helped dispute, has been remitted, usually at the Adjudicator stage, because the staff clearing the overpayment's case's haven't a clue what is going on.
I know it is not their jobs to point out any faults they find to the claimant and if the claimant has not mentioned it, then they are not to. But how can that be fair. How can HMRC allow claimants to repay money knowing quite well there were issues on the system which could cause overpayment's.
I would not even like to say when I think the disputes on overpayment's that occurred 03/04, 04/05 will be cleared in full. Maybe another 10 years who knows.

Glad to know you are willing and able to help (if you can)with anything that we may ask you. Your knowledge will only strengthen our unit. I think at the end of the day we are all striving for the one goal. Glad to have you on board and hope to see your comments around more often.



Splashin
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 22/02/2010 :  07:57:44  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
I agree with Splashin - you are a real asset to our forum, Simpatico, and your knowledge of the system, its foibles and possible solutions to problems can only help us, and perhaps aid mutual understanding so that we, in turn, can understand the pressures making your job so difficult and give you less of a hard time! (Although I do think most of us try to separate the grievance from the person we are complaining to.)

Your point about reading ages surprised me, but thinking about it, nationally there are a great many people who struggle to read a tablod newspaper, which is supposed to be written - or so the myth goes - for an average reading age of seven or eight. Poor education and learning disability tends to be linked to lower income, and hence - as a sweeping generalisation - a disproportionate number of people who receive any kind of benefit or income top-up are likely to struggle more with the written word, and probably also with maths. So this clearly shows that the system was poorly developed, because it expected huge numbers of people who have not had the privilege of a great education (or who have learning disabilities or mental health issues, or may be Deaf, or not have English as a first language, etc.) to be acting like accountants, auditors or solicitors and going over their award documents with a fine toothed comb for errors and inconsistencies. To be honest, I had a decent education to degree level and it STILL never occurred to me to examine every award notice I received and cross-check what the notices said with what my bank statements might reveal. So how could Brown ever expect a nation of busy, distracted, stressed and perhaps not very literate people to devote so much time and energy to auditing all the documents and communications coming out of the Tax Credit Office? To continually ringing up and checking that the job was done? It seems crazy to me!

Anyway, rant over, as I seem to have timed myself out. I will put some questions together for you, if that's okay. Thanks for your time and support.

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 22/02/2010 :  08:32:12  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
<< So this clearly shows that the system was poorly developed, because it expected huge numbers of people who have not had the privilege of a great education (or who have learning disabilities or mental health issues, or may be Deaf, or not have English as a first language, etc.) to be acting like accountants, .... >>

At least one of our fellow casualties is a qualified accountant & he claimes not to be able to make head nor tail of the "system" so what hope is there for the rest of us?

"The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions.

In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed."

Adolf Hitler
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 23/02/2010 :  07:42:41  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Indeed. And lawyers and MPs don't. And they did a study on - I think - university professors (if only I cold find it!) which showed that they couldn't either!

But Simpatico, going back to you:

Government rhetoric has it (I seem to remember it was Jane Kennedy, but will have to locate the quote) that HMRC won't pursue families headed by a person or couple whose health is poor and whose situation is unlikely to improve. Do you know of any situation in which a so-called debt has been waived because the claimant was in ill health? (I don't, despite the rhetoric.)

Also, HMRC won't pursue sums that they consider uneconomical to recover. Is the figure still £300 or has it gone up?

And is it still the case that HMRC will write off high profile cases which have featured in the media and attracted negative publicity for their errors? And cases where there are over a certain number of MP letters?
Or cases where the MP has asked the PM in the house when a certain named constituent can expect a reply?

Sorry about all the questions!



Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Simpatico
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



14 Posts

Posted - 23/02/2010 :  22:34:18  Show Profile Send Simpatico a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ali M-W

Indeed. And lawyers and MPs don't. And they did a study on - I think - university professors (if only I cold find it!) which showed that they couldn't either!

But Simpatico, going back to you:

Government rhetoric has it (I seem to remember it was Jane Kennedy, but will have to locate the quote) that HMRC won't pursue families headed by a person or couple whose health is poor and whose situation is unlikely to improve. Do you know of any situation in which a so-called debt has been waived because the claimant was in ill health? (I don't, despite the rhetoric.)

Also, HMRC won't pursue sums that they consider uneconomical to recover. Is the figure still £300 or has it gone up?

And is it still the case that HMRC will write off high profile cases which have featured in the media and attracted negative publicity for their errors? And cases where there are over a certain number of MP letters?
Or cases where the MP has asked the PM in the house when a certain named constituent can expect a reply?

Sorry about all the questions!



Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.



Hi Ali, it's fine to ask questions,d on't worry, I will always answer where I can and just tell you outright if I don't know, rather than surmise.

I don't know of any cases where the overpayment has been waived due to ill health, but I have seen a couple (literally as in two or three) where overpayment recovery has been "suspended indefinitely" due to either someone being diagnosed with a terminal/long term illness and also once when a claimants partner had passed away.

But I've never heard of them being written off completely.

Ah, the old "write off figure" ! Depending on who you speak to in there, it's anything from £100 or less up to £500. I've never seen any written off for higher than a few hundred, though others may be able to tell you different.

There have been cases written off where people have managed to get their story in the local news and obv HMRC are extremely sensitive to any negative publicity and will do anything to avoid it. One person I work with saw three consecutive overpayments over three tax years) totalling over 7k written off, though the notes on the system were suitably ambiguous, they alluded to "outside intervention." Other than that, though, we don't get to hear about (in the workplace) high profile disputes, only what we hear outside ourselves.

Sorry I couldn't be more informative on those last two points, but hopefully that explains things a little.

Also, I totally agree with what you said about the reading age thing, and with Alan's point about the accountant. Like I said, I don't think I'm the brightest in the world but I'm not totally stupid either and I find it hard to keep up with all the different bits and pieces sometimes.

Splashin - thanks for the welcome, I haven't been around as long as you have, but having heard the stories I can well believe what you say is true about all the problems.

It is scary sometimes just how little the overpayment dispute people know about overpayments. Some of the notes they write and letters they send asking people for information they clearly already have is quite disturbing at times, but then you have to sympathise a point, they're probably getting heat from management for not working enough cases - another problem where people just become another statistic.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 26/02/2010 :  07:22:26  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Thanks, Simpatico. Much as I thought...

For a long time I've been worried about the inconsistent way in which tax credit disputes are handled, and for some people it's especially problematic, as things clearly don't happen as they should. What I mean is that being in dispute should trigger suspension of recovery, so that all letters chasing back money stop immediately, and there are no more court threats or pressure on the claimant to start paying back. Yet we are forever hearing from people who still receive these recovery letters and - in extreme cases - get sent a court summons, have a debt recovery officer turn up on the doorstep, or receive a CCJ they knew nothing about. Can you shed any light on this, please?

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Simpatico
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



14 Posts

Posted - 26/02/2010 :  23:42:03  Show Profile Send Simpatico a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ali M-W

Thanks, Simpatico. Much as I thought...

For a long time I've been worried about the inconsistent way in which tax credit disputes are handled, and for some people it's especially problematic, as things clearly don't happen as they should. What I mean is that being in dispute should trigger suspension of recovery, so that all letters chasing back money stop immediately, and there are no more court threats or pressure on the claimant to start paying back. Yet we are forever hearing from people who still receive these recovery letters and - in extreme cases - get sent a court summons, have a debt recovery officer turn up on the doorstep, or receive a CCJ they knew nothing about. Can you shed any light on this, please?

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.



All we are told is that recovery is suspended during a dispute - this is what we are told to tell the customers and it is what our guidance says - though we know for a fact that customers receive letters and calls regarding their overpayments.

This is mostly due to advisor error. There is a box (yes, one of those) that is supposed to be "ticked" on the computer system when a dispute is lodged with tax credits, but due to advisor error/poor training/etc this often doesn't happen, so as far as the system is concerned, it just looks like the applicant is either ignoring the letters of demand or refusing to pay, hence the reason they receive further correspondence when they shouldn't.

It's another one of those myriad problems that a poor computer system and severe lack of staff training is responsible for, though believe me, I know this isn't an excuse when people are losing sleep over being threatened with court.

As a side issue, there have been a particularly high number of system problems this year, resulting in advisors being told they have to do many "workarounds" on calls, and they get marked down and/or told off if they forget to do this, so there is a lot of pressure at this end too. I am not even trying to pretend this is an excuse on the part of advisors who do not do their job properly, but I just wanted you to understand that there is a lot of c**p flying around at our end as well at the moment.

For the most part I would urge people who have been overpaid genuinely through no fault of their own to go to the press - even local papers have a lot more sway than people realise - as the threat of adverse publicity really is a wonderful bargaining tool.
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splashin
Rank; Really should become a politician



Belize
730 Posts

Posted - 27/02/2010 :  00:24:01  Show Profile Send splashin a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Simpatico
For the most part I would urge people who have been overpaid genuinely through no fault of their own to go to the press - even local papers have a lot more sway than people realise - as the threat of adverse publicity really is a wonderful bargaining tool.



Last Post was great Simpatico !!

Just want to focus on a point you made about going to the press. I do also agree with you, that media is a great bargaining tool, but it is not something you see very often, being used by claimants. I think we should use the Media much more to our advantage.
We should be telling the media of dispute success story's as well as the dispute nightmare stories. By telling others about successful disputes that have occurred, will push others into believing they can also win if they dispute. And also by speaking of the Nightmare Disputes, will help others, be able to understand what HMRC are doing to innocent people lives.



Splashin
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Simpatico
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



14 Posts

Posted - 27/02/2010 :  00:39:23  Show Profile Send Simpatico a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by splashin

Last Post was great Simpatico !!




Cheers Splashin.

quote:
Originally posted by splashin
Just want to focus on a point you made about going to the press. I do also agree with you, that media is a great bargaining tool, but it is not something you see very often, being used by claimants. I think we should use the Media much more to our advantage.
We should be telling the media of dispute success story's as well as the dispute nightmare stories. By telling others about successful disputes that have occurred, will push others into believing they can also win if they dispute. And also by speaking of the Nightmare Disputes, will help others, be able to understand what HMRC are doing to innocent people lives.



Splashin



You know you're not wrong.
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Alan the Geordie
Admin



3032 Posts

Posted - 27/02/2010 :  01:07:21  Show Profile Send Alan the Geordie a Private Message
<< For the most part I would urge people who have been overpaid genuinely through no fault of their own to go to the press - even local papers have a lot more sway than people realise - as the threat of adverse publicity really is a wonderful bargaining tool. >>

Thanks for that Simpatico

It's something that I have been advising our members to do for a long time now, but mostly to little or no avail - even though it's been proved to work!!


"The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions.

In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed."

Adolf Hitler
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2010 :  07:51:08  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Yes, Simpatico, telling the media is certainly very effective. I know a few members now who have gone to a major newspaper and got a result. Thanks for confirming what I have always suspected.

Just out of curiosity, how would you rate your office for dealing with disputes and complaints? Would you say that you have the time to fully investigate a dispute, or are their deadlines? Could you elaborate on the process a little?

You must see similar cases where one person has a write-off but another is denied. Is it just a case of whose desk the work ends up on, and individual discretion, or is there something else operating? What would be the influencing factors, would you say?

And without giving any identifying details, but a bit of an example if you can, what's the best bit of practice and the worst bit of conduct you have seen? It's my view that the skills and competency of different workers varies tremendously and it is not even. I'd be interested in your thoughts on this. Thanks!


Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
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Posted - 02/03/2010 :  07:40:30  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
I know you haven't had a chance to answer the questions above, Simpatico, but I saw this on another forum thread and was somewhat taken aback:


"What might be interesting to know, is after bumping into an old school friend of my daughters she told me she worked for tax credits and has been there about 10 years, I mentioned the overpayment and naturally she said that long ago surely its been written off by now?just ignore everything,which is easier said than done, but she did go on to tell me that she herself had a few hundred pounds overpayment and she hasn't paid that back infact she said there were quite a lot of staff that had overpayments that they hadn't paid back and she mentioned of a friend of hers owed £10000 I done know if this one works in tax credits or not, but it seems to me they want to get their own house in order I bet they dont get calls at their desks from the recovery team, in fact after hearing all this I bet there are people on the recovery team who owe overpayments as well, I may well meet with someone else yet I'll let you know, keep up the good fight, and roll on the election"


Surely this couldn't be true? We've always advised against ignoring HMRC correspondence as the outcome is likely to be court action, but if an ex-insider is (apparently) saying that she knows loads of ex-employees whose overpayments aren't being pursued, this would seem to warrant some investigation.

Could there be any truth in this? One rule for one lot of people, another for another?

It certainly seems to be in the spirit of what Nu Labour currently stands for....

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
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3558 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2010 :  07:43:08  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
I would think that if non-responding (ex-)staff are getting let off, it's perhaps got more to do with selective focus rather than lack of response, and just to warn people that in my view letters from HMRC cannot safely be ignored!

Anyway, hope you can answer all the above in due course, Simpatico! Thanks.

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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