Sharp fall in taxman complaints.

The number of complaints upheld against the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise has halved since 1993, it was revealed this week and adjudicator Dame Barbara Mills said the number could have been reduced, write Alex Miller and our parliamentary staff. Mills blamed ‘lack of clarity of guidance available to tax-payers and officials’ for the 30% of Revenue cases upheld by the Adjudicator’s Office during the last tax year. That figure was 64% in 1993. Meanwhile cases upheld against Customs fell from 54% in 1996 to 31% during 1999/2000. Parliamentary Ombudsman, Michael Buckley, received 134 complaints against the Revenue during the last tax year and launched 22 full investigations resulting in reports. He received 23 complaints against Customs and conducted six-full scale probes. In her first annual report since taking over the job, Dame Barbara said: ‘The expansion of Inland Revenue’s work into areas such as tax credits and national minimum wage will bring them into contact with sectors of the community with whom they have had little dealings. ‘The Adjudicator’s Office is working with Inland Revenue to ensure that they establish good complaints procedures.’ Finance Bill, page 10.

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