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Mid-sized firms voice issues with quality of HMRC information

The results of HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) mid-sized business customer survey indicates that only half of the firms surveyed feel positive about the depth of information available to them from the tax authority.

The results of the survey show a marked difference in levels of positivity towards HMRC between businesses established for less than five years and those established for more than 20 years; with the latter much less positive (34 per cent) about the quality of information provided by HMRC.

In total, just over a quarter (27 per cent) of businesses that reported a positive overall experience said that their experience had improved in the last 12 months. However, almost half (45 per cent) of those that reported a negative overall experience felt that their experience had worsened.

One employer of a £10m turnover business, said: “You struggle to get an answer to the question, which is a relatively specific question … You would expect the person at the HMRC end of the conversation to go, ‘okay, I know exactly what you mean, this is what you need to do’, or ‘this is how you would treat it’. Which, as a company, is frustrating because we’re trying to do the right thing but we’re not sure we’re getting good quality information.”

The majority of businesses surveyed (58 per cent) said their experience with HMRC had remained the same during the last 12 months. Interestingly, more businesses reported an improved HMRC experience (20 per cent) than those who believed it had declined (13 per cent).

More specifically, HMRC’s telephone call handling was noted to have performed poorly, with only half (50 per cent) having faith in its ability to get transactions right, while a little over a third (36 per cent) felt the tax authority had taken a reasonable length of time to resolve an issue.

Taxpayers felt largely the same about HMRC’s handling of email correspondence, with 50 per cent confident about the authority’s ability to get a transaction correct, 35 per cent happy with the time taken to resolve their issues and 50 per cent content with the quality of information received.

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