‘We are arranging a visit to your house. We will view your possessions and list those that we will sell at auction. We strongly advise you to avoid this as it will cost you much more to pay this way and can be embarrassing.’
Suppose you are 95, and then suppose you are frail, confused and ill. You receive a letter like that from HMRC, a government agency with a reputation for arrogant and forceful action. So you contact a friend, who contacts a newspaper; who in turn contacts the charity Tax Help For Older People to look at her case.
After examining her records it emerged that she has in fact paid more than £380 too much tax. HMRC apologises, and says it will investigate.
But no-one will be fired, no-one will be punished, no-one will accept that wrong has been done; and not only to this frail elderly lady, but to many thousands of others who have received harsh demand letters from the Agency which bears the title Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.