The e petition asking HMRC stop stop using the "C" word and return to calling taxpayers ermm taxpayers, has prompted Tax Journal to ask HMRC if they will heed the request.
In a word, no.
HMRC have no intention of abandoning the "C" word; even though taxpayers have no choice, it winds everyone up and everyone pays tax in some shape or form (eg income tax, VAT etc etc).
Here is HMRC's response in full:
"Tax Journal: Does HMRC accept that use of the term ‘customer’ is not appropriate?
HMRC: Language is important. We use the term ‘customer’ to underpin our thinking about how we should relate to the millions of people we serve. The word ‘customer’ invites a different provider orientation, with its implication of choice. We know that it is this that irritates our critics but it is exactly this point that needs to be thought about when defining how we connect with people.
We must ask ourselves: ‘If this person had a choice would they come back to us?’ If the answer is ‘no’ then we need to address that. We do not want to be the kind of organization that takes people for granted because we can. We think it is inevitable that when you think of someone who comes to you through choice and has to be encouraged back through the quality of service they experience even when this is not literally the case this will feed through into the quality of service you provide.
A customer has to be treated exceptionally well and that is what we aspire to. We want to think of the millions of people we serve as deserving of the same consideration and attention that those who use commercial services receive. So no the use of ‘customer’ is not inappropriate.
Tax Journal: Does HMRC intend to continue to use the term?
HMRC: We do.
Tax Journal: Are there any plans to stop using the term, and if so when will the change take place and what terms will be used instead?
HMRC: We think using the term ‘customer’ underlines the fact that the people we serve are entitled to be treated as though they could receive the services they get from us elsewhere. It is right that we have the mind-set of an organization faced with tough competition for the people we deliver our services to.
Tax Journal: Do you have any comment on Mike Truman’s article or the campaign?
HMRC: We always welcome robust debate. The views that Mike’s campaign will generate (and we think there will be many) will contribute to an interesting and important conversation – one to which we are likely to contribute. We know that not everyone likes our use of the term ‘customer’ and we will certainly listen to the views of our critics but we believe the term plays an important part in helping us to take forward our strategy of putting people at the heart of everything we do."
Tax does have to be taxing.
Professional Cover Against the Threat of Costly TAX and VAT Investigations
What is TAXWISE?
TAXWISE is a tax-fee protection service that will pay up to £75,000 towards your accountant's fees in the event of an HM Revenue & Customs full enquiry or dispute.
To find out more, please use this link Taxwise
Tax Investigation for Dummies, by Nick Morgan, provides a good and easy to read guide for anyone caught up in an HMRC tax investigation. A must read for any Self Assessment taxpayer.
Click the link to read about: Tax Investigation for Dummies
HMRC Is Shite (www.hmrcisshite.com), also available via the domain www.hmrconline.com, is brought to you by www.kenfrost.com "The Living Brand"