HMRC is planning to replace 170 local tax offices across the country with 13 new regional centres as part of a major restructuring project designed to slash millions of pounds from the taxman’s budget.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the radical plan will leave towns and cities across the country without a tax office and is likely to lead to thousands of the tax authority’s 56,000 staff being made redundant.
According to the newspaper, the cuts are expected to be so severe that there will be no tax office in south-west England west of Bristol, with little or no coverage in East Anglia.
Staff at HMRC will be told which cities will host the new centres and the impact on jobs when the changes are announced later today.
“We will inform our staff about the future direction of our estate. We have been clear for some time that this will mean fewer, but larger and more modern offices that will help us to deliver better services to our customers and bring in more tax revenue for public services,” a spokesman for HMRC said.
“These changes are part of an ongoing modernisation programme begun several years ago and will take place over the next ten years.”
The radical plans come as HMRC faces criticism over its poor customer service. A report by MPs last week said the taxman’s record of answering calls is so bad it could be having “an adverse impact on the collection of tax revenues”.
The tax authority pledged in June to allocate £45m of its budget to improving its ‘customer’ service, as it released statistics which showed an inconsistent call handling performance in 2014/15.
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