HMRC’s standards slipping, warn tax advisers

A DECLINE in service standards is tax advisers’ main concern about HM Revenue & Customs.

The latest survey by the ICAEW of its members finds that they have found the taxman’s overall service standards have continued to slip. They are also unhappy that it has not embraced email communication.

“We are very concerned that overall service standards have fallen steadily as HMRC continues to seek to reduce its costs and improve its efficiency in line with the department’s budget allocation,” stated the report.

The findings come from a survey of ICAEW members between May and July 2010.

More than seven in ten respondents said that in at least five of the last ten calls to HMRC, they needed further contact to resolve the enquiry.

Six in ten (61%) respondents said HMRC staff’s technical knowledge was rarely or never sufficient, compared to 50% a year earlier.

Full replies to VAT queries took more than three months in 34% of instances.

An HMRC spokesman said: “We take the quality of service we provide to tax agents very seriously and where we fall short we aim to do better.

“There is already a dedicated facility on HMRC’s website designed specifically for tax professionals but we are currently reviewing agents’ web services on both the HMRC and Business Link sites over the next few months as part of an overall improvement package.”



Related reading