HMRC needs to improve its service for larger mid-market businesses, accountancy firm RSM has said.
A recent survey by HMRC found that 51% of mid-market businesses rated their overall experience communicating with them as positive over the past year.
The survey, conducted between October and December 2015 among over 2,000 mid-sized businesses – defined as being those with a Corporation Tax or Income Tax Self-Assessment turnover above £10m, and/or more than 20 employees – found that businesses which used only digital channels to communicate with HMRC were more likely to be positive about their experience than those who used a mixture of digital and non-digital contact, such as letters and phone calls.
RSM has called for further improvements in customer service, particularly for larger mid-size firms
Andrew Hubbard, a partner at RSM said: ‘When businesses are asked to comment on their experience of dealing with the taxman, the fact that just over half said their experience was positive should be acknowledged, but HMRC needs to look closely at the reasons why the other half were less than satisfied.”
HMRC will use the findings to support the improvement of digital strategy and digital communication.
RSM suggested that further improvements in the communication service are important for the larger of the mid-sized firms. Only 34% of businesses with more than 250 employees rated the overall experience positively.
Hubbard continued “The larger of the mid-sized businesses surveyed were less likely to be positive. This could be because they had to use non-digital communication more often than smaller businesses, which will usually have less complex affairs which do not demand significant levels of interaction with HMRC.” 73% of digital only users found it easy to deal with tax affairs compared to 52% of users of combined digital and non-digital channels.
The largest businesses will have account managers at the HMRC that perform the role of managing communications and resolving problems. This can leave mid-sized businesses that are large enough to have complex tax affairs but not large enough to qualify for an HMRC account manager, at a disadvantage, which may not be solved by greater digitalisation.
Hubbard concluded; ‘HMRC needs to reflect carefully on the findings of this survey and work with larger mid-sized businesses and their advisers to improve the customer experience for this important group of businesses.’
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