TaxPersonal TaxMPs slam taxman’s communications

MPs slam taxman's communications

Public Accounts Committee says department is not up to scratch on its website or in returning calls

MPs have slammed the taxman, saying that it does not return calls quickly
enough and that its website is not up to scratch.

The
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
benchmarks.’

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.

Further Reading:

Read
the Public Accounts Committee report

Related Articles

Rent-a-room relief – the survey says…

Personal Tax Rent-a-room relief – the survey says…

1m Helen Thornley, ATT Technical Officer
What should the OTS prioritise in its review of inheritance tax?

Personal Tax What should the OTS prioritise in its review of inheritance tax?

3m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
LITRG urges government to consider tax changes in disability work plan

Administration LITRG urges government to consider tax changes in disability work plan

4m Lucy Skoulding, Reporter
HMRC appeal rejected in Tottenham Hotspur case

Administration HMRC appeal rejected in Tottenham Hotspur case

5m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
HMRC urged to clarify impact of income allowances on Self-Assessments

Personal Tax HMRC urged to clarify impact of income allowances on Self-Assessments

6m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
New trading allowance: simplicity, but not as we know it

Administration New trading allowance: simplicity, but not as we know it

6m Emma Rawson, ATT Technical Officer
Wealthy individuals could circumvent top tax rate rises

Personal Tax Wealthy individuals could circumvent top tax rate rises

8m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Italy grants first successful non-dom status application to former UK non-dom

Personal Tax Italy grants first successful non-dom status application to former UK non-dom

9m Emma Smith, Managing Editor