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Are Osborne’s targets for HMRC too ambitious?

Are Osborne’s targets for HMRC too ambitious?

The ICAEW has warned the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, that the standard of service at HMRC could drop if its headcount decreases in line with his remit.

Lin Homer, the chief executive of the Revenue recently published a letter outlining what Osborne expects the department to achieve during the current tax year. The letter, which ran to five pages, laid out five priorities. As well as delivering costs and improving tax collection, the Chancellor wants the Revenue to improve its services for business and individual customers, implement RTI and reform tax policy.

Paul Aplin, the ICAEW chairman of the tax faculty, said he was concerned at the Chancellor’s high expectations. Mr Osborne has said he wants an additional £17 billion collected this year, but at the same time he wants the Revenue’s headcount cut. This could have a damaging affect on the level of service HMRC provides to contractor accountants and members of the general public.

He went on to say that for the tax system to operate effectively HMRC needs more resources and if they were effectively deployed, the department would become self-funding.

Aplin also warned against implementing RTI before it was fully tested. He pointed out that it was an ambitious project that was being launched to a strict timetable and it had to work as intended when it does launch.

HMRC launched an initial RTI pilot scheme recently and is itself trying out the system in the hope of identifying, and remedying, potential problems before the scheme becomes mandatory.

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Image: View Through My Target Scope by bk1bennett

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