HMRC claims its customer services have improved 'measurably'

7th June 2013 | News

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) believes the performance of its customer services have improved 'measurably' since the commencement of a joint venture with accountancy institutes and other stakeholders.
 
Following a performance review, HMRC’s chief executive, Lin Homer, revealed the tax authority has "resolved some important practical issues" as a result of the scheme.
 
The initiative came to fruition following a recommendation by the Treasury Select Committee back in 2011, which suggested HMRC worked with all of the influential accountancy institutes to improve the taxpayer’s experience of organising their tax affairs.
 
A detailed programme of work to improve HMRC’s service was drawn up with assistance from representatives of the ICAEW, ICAS, CIoT, ACCA, AAT and ATT, as well as TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People.
 
The programme included improved communication to notify employers when returns were late and when they were at risk of penalties; whilst providing a single point of contact for taxpayers conducting self-assessment returns in bereavement cases.
 
Paul Aplin, partner at AC Mole and chair of the ICAEW tax faculty’s technical committee, said: "The initiative is now accumulating a list of real “wins” on service delivery.
 
"Tens of thousands of employers avoided penalties last year and will do again this year as a direct result of the work on P35 processes and the extra investment in call centre resource is again a direct result of the discussions we have had through the initiative.
 
"Perhaps the most important thing though is what underlies the specific items on the list and that is very real engagement on service issues at the highest levels of HMRC."
 
The progress report followed swiftly on from the news of HMRC’s plans to close its enquiry centres – starting with a shutdown of 13 centres in the North East of England.
 
HMRC insist no final decision has been reached on a new support model but promised that face-to-face support to taxpayers who need it most will continue to be delivered via "new services", which will ultimately require consultation and piloting first.