When contacting HMRC can be taxing

A report into HMRC effectiveness by the National Audit Office (NAO) has received near universal headlines highlighting chaos, a collapse in customer service and the potential for errors in millions of tax returns. Whilst HMRC failings in service are highlighted throughout the report, the NAO in its introduction does comment that following a collapse in service quality in 2014 and the first half of 2015, “services have since improved.”

The core of the problem related to HMRC’s move towards digital and online tax services, something which has the approval of the NAO. Nevertheless, the report highlights the fact that an expected fall in demand for telephone contact following the move to digital did not materialise, leading to a significant worsening of call waiting times and levels of service. Indeed, the report estimates that every £1 saved by HMRC in cost-cutting measures gave rise to an increased cost to callers and the country of £4.

It will be interesting to see whether the improvements commented on by the NAO will continue into the next tax return reporting season. April 2016 saw the introduction of a number of changes to taxation in respect of personal investments, and although these won’t affect tax returns due for the 2015/16 tax year, their widespread reporting will inevitably cause a measure of confusion on the part of those completing tax returns over the next couple of years.

If you would like to speak to a tax adviser about personal taxation, please contact Newshams Tax Advisers on 0800 211 8657 or email us at enquiries@newshams.com.






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