TaxAdministrationTax offices to close under Gershon review

Tax offices to close under Gershon review

HMRC chairman tells MPs that tax offices will close as part of rationalisation programme

HM Revenue & Customs is set to close tax offices as part of the Gershon
review, chairman David Varney admitted this week, fuelling concerns about
service quality implications for a department already under fire by accountants.

Answering questions from MPs at the Commons Treasury sub-committee meeting,
Varney said there would be closures, but refused to specify how many or where.

‘We are looking to rationalise our organisation. That process has not reached
any conclusion about job cuts, but there are already some decisions about
offices,’ Varney said.

Closures to tax offices had been feared when Gershon’s conclusions were first
touted in July last year.

Alex Flynn, of the Public and Commercial Services Union, of which many HMRC
employees are members, said: ‘It would appear that the cat is out of the bag. We
are increasingly fearful that offices will close in rural communities in
particular.’

Tax offices were critical when problems with the tax credit system first
arose, with many taxpayers seeking advice there. They are now dealt with at a
national line. ‘If something like that crisis happened again, the situation
could be far worse,’ Flynn said.

Simon Sweetman, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said he anticipated
offices within less than 30 miles of each other would go. ‘A very large number
of people who have business dealt with at the offices are pensioners,’ he added.

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