Consultation to start on taxpayers’ charter

hmrc building

The long-delayed taxpayers’ charter has moved a step closer after the
government said it would consult the public on its plans.

The charter, which has been renamed the HMRC charter, is designed to outline
the mutual rights and obligations between taxpayers and HM Revenue and Customs.

Progress on the charter has been slow, however. The proposal was first
suggested more than three years ago and there is still no guarantee that the
charter will be introduced through legislation this year.

John Whiting, tax partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and spokesman of the
Chartered Institute of Taxation, said the consultative document released by HMRC
was less comprehensive than the CIoT’s proposed charter submitted last year ­
but he welcomed confirmation of the consultation.

‘[HMRC’s consultation document] frankly is a great deal thinner – there’s
only really a page or two. What they’ve put out isn’t anything like what we put
in a year ago. To a large extent they have still covered all the bases with what
has been provided,’ said Whiting.

The CIoT has been lobbying for a right of appeal, where taxpayers could argue
against tax assessment decisions. In addition, the charter should include a
service standard, including the timeframe for HMRC to make repayments, the CIoT
has argued.

The deadline for the consultation period has been set for 12 May and because
this is likely to fall after
the Budget it is unknown what detail will be included in the finance bill.

The charter is expected to be founded in statute in this year’s bill, with
the details being finalised later.

The consultation process is likely to incorporate a series of workshops and
discussions between HMRC and groups lobbying for the adoption of a charter.

In last November’s pre-Budget report the government confirmed it would
introduce the charter in legislation.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has twice
recommended that the UK should adopt a charter but has thus far come without

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