HMRC claim that they are working in the interests of their "customers" (errmmm I guess that's the taxpayers that they are referring to?), and wish to improve "customer" satisfaction.
The professional bodies in the Working Together E-Group, which regularly meets with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to discuss issues regarding online filing, are taking HMRC at its word and recently polled its members over the future of the online filing system.
The poll found that 82% of members responding wanted free online filing software to continue.
Paul Aplin, member of the E-Group and chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)'s tax faculty, said:
"Eighty-two percent of members responding thought that HMRC should continue to supply free software to unrepresented taxpayers.
This is on the basis that if HMRC want to encourage individuals to file online rather than by paper.
HMRC should continue to supply a free basic e-filing service."
The survey also gave members the right to vent their spleens over the "quality" of HMRC's e-filing system.
Can you guess what the result was?
Yes, that's right, a stonking 85% of respondents said that the system was worse or no better than last year.
There's progress for you!
The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) said that the survey results indicated HMRC needed to think very carefully before any strategic changes, and also needed to carry out extensive testing before requiring changes to their own and commercial e-filing system software.
All excellent stuff!
There is but one small problem, one small fly in HMRC's oinkment, although HMRC claim that they want to improve the "customer" experience this "improvement" will only be only on their terms.
Specifically the e filing system will not improve, as that would cost money, and HMRC will stop supplying free software even though they want to force the majority of taxpayers to complete returns online.
Apart from those two small points, HMRC most definitely will take on board the findings of the poll and most assuredly will listen to the feedback from their "customers".
Editor's note: The last paragraph to be read with a heavy dose of irony!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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