A taxman’s lot is not a happy one

For some this will come as no surprise, but we have the evidence now to
demonstrate what’s going on. An internal survey reveals that morale and
satisfaction levels among employees has plummeted compared to previous years.

Results like this are often easily disposed of when it comes to public sector
bodies, but this was no snapshot survey. It involved as many as 18,000 staff
members. Given that the merged department at one stage had almost 100,000 people
on the payroll, that’s a statistically significant number of views.

The merger; troubles with online filing of self assessment, crisis over the
handling of National Insurance and most recently, and perhaps most upsetting,
the job losses as a result of the Gershon review, have taken their toll.

The concern for Accountancy Age readers is what effect this has on the
interaction with advisers and taxpayers.

Michael Izza when he became chief executive of the ICAEW undertook a mini
tout of members to find out what bothered them most. It wasn’t merger, career
prospects or red tape. It was the efficiency of HMRC that really frustrated.

That appears to be evidence enough of something badly wrong at the home of
the taxman.

When Sir Nick Montagu was running the revenue work was under way to make the
department more of an ‘enabling’ body. Over the years this has been undermined
as it reverted back to an ‘enforcer’ role. Along with the merger and job losses
this has potentially left staff with something of an identity crisis. We can
only hope that the new chief Paul Gray has the problem in hand.

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