Every third call from taxpayers to the UK’s HMRC - Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the tax authorities - remained unanswered. This is quite rightly considered unacceptable, especially with long waiting times added to the equation, writes Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.
HMRC is therefore recruiting 3,000 more people to help those using the government tax and benefit helplines. This is certainly needed to meet the demand from taxpayers.
Confusion over how to complete tax returns is widespread in most European countries and the US. The tax laws are far too complicated.
Tax authorities want total and exaggerated ‘transparency’ from every taxpayer, but the tax laws are far from ‘transparent’. They are a maze of numerous pages of detail, illogical and unclear.
There is a striking amount of over-regulation in tax matters. We can also see over-regulation in many other areas in Europe, such as exaggerated consumer protection, competition laws, labour market and many other areas. This is not just because of European Union rules. National states are also issuing rules and regulations at a breath-taking speed.
The UK’s HMRC and its lack of an acceptable telephone answering service is just one of many symptoms.
Responsible politicians should be simplifying the tax system, instead of adding extra staff. This may be a short-term solution but is unsustainable in the medium to long term.
This is one of many calls going unheard and our economies are approaching an administrative collapse.