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Customer service at HMRC is inadequate says ICAS

Customer service at HMRC is inadequate says ICAS

The Association of Taxation Technicians claims that HMRC is breathing down the neck of small businesses to make sure they are keeping accurate books.

The ICAS has also found that all but the largest organisations are dissatisfied with the service they receive from the Revenue.

Local compliance offices deal with the tax affairs of businesses and 65% of ICAS members say the efficiency and effectiveness of these offices is either poor or very poor. The Revenue’s Debt management and banking division, which deals with debt recovery, tax payments and time to pay arrangements, doesn’t fare much better at 60%.

ICAS says these figures are disappointing and highlight the difficulties contractor accountants and tax professionals face. This also raises further concerns about the impact on taxpayers without professional representation. Whilst the ICAS supports government moves to make sure everybody pays the correct amount of tax, HMRC must make it easier for firms to comply.

Furthermore, the survey shows that debt management processes within the Revenue are disjointed. Aggressive tactics are often used to chase taxpayers who do not owe money and different sections within HMRC need to improve their communications.

Elspeth Orcharton, ICAS’ assistant director of tax, said the largest UK organisations receive a good standard of service through HMRC customer relationship managers, but this demand on resources has led to smaller businesses receiving a poorer service. The operating and staffing systems within the Revenue cannot cope with supporting compliance of our very complicated self assessment tax system.

Nearly 50% of ICAS members were happy with the technical skills of Revenue staff once they found somebody with the requisite knowledge, but the problem was getting to that person. HMRC appear to have too many employees who don’t have the necessary knowledge and spend all their time asking questions of others.

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Image: Rubbish by garryknight

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