ICAS (the professional body of Chartered Accountants) have published a response to the Treasury Committee's report into the Administration and Effectiveness of HMRC.
"In response to the Treasury Committee’s report into the Administration and Effectiveness of HMRC, Derek Allen, Director of Taxation at ICAS, the professional body of Chartered Accountants (CAs), commented:
“ICAS and other professional bodies gave evidence to the Committee expressing concerns that HMRC’s service performance was unacceptably poor. HMRC takes too long to process returns, answer letters and deal with taxpayers seeking help. HMRC has also been responsible for many errors such as issuing incorrect coding notices and delays in processing information. This has damaged public confidence in the tax system.
“The UK tax system is complex. HMRC needs to be accessible to taxpayers and their professional advisers if it is to achieve its vision of helping compliant taxpayers pay the right tax at the right time.
Sadly, HMRC deserves the criticism that they are responsible for delays and mistakes.
This undermines the trust that used to exist between taxpayers and HMRC. HMRC now needs to visibly demonstrate that it can improve its service.”
The Committee’s recommendations included:
• Improving the service provided by contact centres, particularly in relation to escalating complex queries and providing alternatives to 0845 numbers
• Providing robust alternative to online contact, including more cost-effective ways of providing face-to-face advice
The Committee’s findings are of no surprise to ICAS, who has previously voiced concerns over HMRC’s shortcomings and poor performance, reflected in surveys undertaken by the Institute.
“HMRC needs to be accountable for its performance. The Institute welcomes the recommendation that professional bodies, such as ICAS, should be involved in setting realistic performance standards for HMRC.
We are concerned that internal statistics do not reveal the true picture of delay and difficulty being caused by HMRC. It is essential that the Treasury Select Committee encourage more evidence from external sources.
The Committee should continue to monitor HMRC performance and service delivery and receive regular updates from HMRC management of the progress made to restore an acceptable service.”"
Readers should note well the comment "We are concerned that internal statistics do not reveal the true picture of delay and difficulty being caused by HMRC."
The issue of inaccurate internal statistics, survey results and manipulated feedback up the HMRC chain of command have been commented on regularly on this site. It is encouraging to see that the issue has been picked up by others.
"HMRC deserves the criticism that they are responsible for delays and mistakes."
Tax does have to be taxing.
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