This is fun

You know who keeps saying (well, he would, wouldn\’t he, given that he\’s paid to write reports for PCS, the taxmans\’ union) that it\’s appalling that we\’re cutting the number of taxmen.

However, just part of that process that has contributed so much to making us all so rich, automation:

It aims to reconcile information held on different systems inside HM Revenue and Customs.

The tax authority found millions of taxpayers regularly paid more or less tax than they should after it switched on a new system to trawl through 40m tax records. Around two million people will discover they are owed money by the tax authority, although they will be owed much smaller amounts.

If you\’ve just automated some function you simply do not need as many people as you used to. That extra labour can now go off and do something else. We thus get, in this instance, both taxes collected properly plus that something, whatever it is, that those no longer required taxmen go and do instead. We are, thus, collectively richer, for we now have two things to share amongst us all, not one.

6 thoughts on “This is fun”

  1. The other advantage of automation is that the computer is unlikely to reduce people’s claims because it doesn’t like their race, as several HMRC staff have been caught doing recently.

  2. Wait until they have done it successfully before you crow Tim. The Revenue has the worst IT clowns around. The organisation could have had its numbers gradually reduced by natural wastage. They have spent thousands of millions on IT and are still in a dreadful state despite the crap pedalled by a lying boss class.

  3. I am told that the ‘tax take’ per person employed by the UK tax authorities is dismal by many international standards (see eg the USA) precisely because their resistance to computerising many mundane processes is intense. Anyone have the figures?

  4. Computers aren’t a panacea and solution to all problems. The classic geek phrase of GIGO comes to mind. Garbage In Garbage Out. If there is a human entering data into the system, the system can still produce stupid results.

  5. I’ve always wondered why those paid from the public purse are charged tax, this seems an inordinate amount of effort for something that accomplishes nothing.

    Why not let public servants avoid tax and cut their pay accordingly, then you don’t have all the messy paperwork, and the staff, to contend with ?

  6. Ian:
    >I’ve always wondered why those paid from the public
    >purse are charged tax, this seems an inordinate amount
    >of effort for something that accomplishes nothing.

    I used to, too, when I was 11 or so, but I discovered there are a couple of things:
    1) for fairness, it is important to be able to compare the salaries of the public servants to the privately employed, and because you have to grant and consider tax deductions, it works this way, and
    2) people do often change jobs in the middle of tax year, and some people do two jobs at the same time, one privately and one in public service. A fair treatment for these people in taxes etc is only possible if all their income is taxable.

    But most importantly, having one group of people get their salary tax-free would be divisive. Look, parlamentarians in many countries get some money tax-free and think how much respect that earns them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *