HMRC claims ‘customer’ service progress after joint work with institutes

THE PERFORMANCE of HM Revenue & Customs’ ‘customer’ services have improved “measurably” since the implementation of a joint venture with accountancy institutes and other stakeholders, the department claims.

In a performance update, HMRC chief executive Lin Homer said the tax authority has “resolved some important practical issues” through the initiative.

The scheme was set up following a 2011 recommendation made by the Treasury Select Committee, and sees HMRC working with all the main accountancy institutes in order to improve the experience of dealing with the taxman for taxpayers.

Representatives from the ICAEW, ICAS, CIoT, ACCA, AAT, ATT, as well as TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People drew up a detailed programme of work to improve HMRC’s service, including notifying employers when returns are late and the penalties they risk. In addition, more effective methods for communicating changes and initiatives with “front-line agents” are a priority, along with a single point of contact at HMRC for taxpayers conducting self-assessment in bereavement cases.

AC Mole partner and chair of the ICAEW tax faculty’ technical committee, Paul Aplin said: “The initiative is now accumulating a list of real “wins” on service delivery. Tens of thousands of employers avoided penalties last year and will do again this year as a direct result of the work on P35 processes and the extra investment in call centre resource is again a direct result of the discussions we have had through the Initiative.

“Perhaps the most important thing though is what underlies the specific items on the list and that is very real engagement on service issues at the highest levels of HMRC.”

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