Revenue complaints fall – but for how long?

Complaints made against the Inland Revenue fell by 18% last year, but the let-up is likely to prove temporary, according to new figures from the ombudsman’s office.

Cases taken by parliamentary commissioner Michael Buckley fell from 113 to 93. But the dip was before self-assessment and after a change in the dates for statistics collection.

The figures have emerged in the wake of Buckley’s annual report to parliament in which he remarked: ‘The taxation departments feature regularly in complaints referred to the ombudsman.’

During the year he rejected 75 complaints and issued 14 reports, three of which found the complainant justified and 10 partly justified. Officials are waiting to see if this represents an improvement in the performance of the Revenue.

New cases against Customs leapt from 10 to 17, about two-thirds involving VAT matters. The ombudsman issued four reports, two of which found complaints justified and one partly justified. Buckley’s report followed figures from the departments’ own independent adjudicator, which showed the number of cases fell from 474 in 1997/1998 to 427 during 1998/1999.

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