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Move for minister to overhaul HMRC after blunders

The all-party Parliamentary group on taxation chair Ian Liddell-Granger wants the Government to appoint a minister to overhaul HM Revenue & Customs after a series of blunders.

Last week, HMRC admitted that 146,000 pensioners will have to pay an average of £800 in uncollected tax after their state pension payments were not taken into account when calculating income tax for the third year running.

The blunder affects pensioners that get both a private pension and a state pension and earn above the personal allow-ance of £6,475.

HMRC made the same mistake in 2008/09 and 2009/10 but wrote off the tax because the fault was discovered after the end of the tax years.

Those facing payments for 2010/11 will be able to spread them over three years, starting in 2012/13.

Conservative MP for Bridgewater Liddell-Granger says a minister must be appointed temporarily to deal with HMRC’s “embarrassing” errors.

He says: “We must have a minister responsible directly and solely for HMRC at the moment because the problems there need to be taken more seriously. It is embarrassing.”

An HMRC spokesman says: “We are very sorry that some pensioners will receive an unexpected tax bill for 2010/11.”

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  1. Also needed is the creation of a regulatory oversight committee to overhaul and police the way in which the FSA operates in the wake of its seemingly endless litany of failures.

    As things presently stand, all that ever happens is that Adair Turner says the FSA needs more power, more resources and, as always, even more money. Give us ever more of all these things and we may do better.

    All the government has said is that the FCA will remain as unaccountable as the FSA, responsible only to its own board, which means effectively accountable to nobody. It can set its levies at whatever levels it likes, it can dish out fines at whatever levels it decides, it can spend tens of millions of pounds of other peoples’ money on whatever it likes (such as all these hugely expensive outside consultations or vast pay-offs for the likes of Clive Briault), it can set its own policy agenda without reference to any outside body, it can even go £14m into the red to pay £21m of highly questionable bonuses.

    Only the TSC, at last, seems aware of the fact that this is an extremely unhealthy modus operandi for an organisation that wields so much power over the lives of so many people. Meanwhile, Sheila Nicoll is content to sit next to Hector Sants before the TSC smirking smugly in a the knowledge that the FSA remains, effectively, untouchable. It can do what it likes and nobody has the power to give the reins a sharp yank and say “Hang on, this is wrong and you aren’t going to do it” because the FSA, as has been said many times before, is an unbridled monster riding roughshod over anyone or any body that dares to try to stand in its way.

    Reform is desperately needed but no one seems to know by what mechanism how to bring it about. A very bad state of affairs.

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