CSR: Cash-Strapped Revenue may use more amnesties

Advisers bracing themselves for more strained working relations with the
taxman after it was hit with a 15% savings bombshell are now saying that it may
force the department’s hand on offering more tax amnesties.

Instead of starting costly exercises to try and root out errant taxpayers
some advisers predict HMRC will roll out more programmes like the
Health Plan
to other well-paid professionals- even accountants.

“I’m hearing from government sources that the amnesties could stretch to
lawyers and accountants,” said one adviser.

The taxman had close to 69,000 staff as of April 2010, but revenue sources
say that this will decrease to 56,000 by 2014/2015 after the latest round of

Advisers are warning that the taxman will have more trouble processing the
large amounts of information it receives and dealing with the demands of the

But, perhaps surpisingly, advisers are also being pragmatic about the

“We’ve all got to get used to a degree of inconvenience in our lives,” said
Mike Warburton of Grant Thornton.

The first sign of how the taxman is going to achieve its savings target came
through recently when it announced that the Sunday service hotline was going to
be scrapped.

David Ingall partner at JWP Creers said:”The costs have to be cut and there
will be consequences.

“We have to deal with those consequences as part of our professional life. Is
the service going to be 15% worse? Depending where the savings fall it is
anyone’s guess.”

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