MPs have slammed the taxman, saying that it does not return calls quickly
enough and that its website is not up to scratch.
Public Accounts Committee report also said that taxpayers underpaid their
tax bills by £2.8bn in 2001-2.
In a damning report on HM Revenue & Customs’ communications with
taxpayers, the PAC said: ‘The department’s target to answer at least 90% of
telephone callers within a day is not demanding, nor in line with industry
Callers receive incorrect advice when they ring up, and the department’s
website is not up to scratch.
‘The Department’s website is not user friendly and falls short of the
standards achieved by tax administrations in other countries. It should improve
accessibility with more effective search engine and navigation tools, including
last-modified dates on webpages, and by meeting Cabinet Office guidelines on
accessibility for groups such as blind and partially sighted users. It should
not wait for the Direct.gov website to become available in 2011 as the main web
channel for citizens before carrying out these improvements,’ it said.
HMRC does not make it possible for taxpayers to contact it by e-mail, when
expanding online services could save it £100m a year.
Guidance leaflets the government provides require a reading age higher than
the national average.
£330 million of tax may be unpaid due to unintentional mistakes by taxpayers,
the report says.
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