Autumn Statement: Reinvestment in HMRC customer service is the key to better compliance

Published on 5 December 2013

Tax campaigners have welcomed the news that the HMRC budget is to be protected from any further cuts this year. Ostensibly this is to enable it to focus more on countering evasion and avoidance. But equally, the urgent need to improve customer service should not be compromised by lack of investment.

Commenting, Anthony Thomas, Chairman of the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), said:

“Good and reliable customer service, delivered at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer, is essential for those who depend upon HMRC as their only source of advice and help with a highly complex tax system. 

“Countering tax evasion and avoidance is of course vital in the interests of all taxpayers. But let us not forget the dangers inherent in letting the compliant majority fall by the wayside through being unable to communicate cheaply and effectively with HMRC when they need to. And if people are better able to engage with HMRC, they are less likely to drop below the radar.

“HMRC’s innovative grant-in-aid programme has helped many voluntary sector bodies in their work with otherwise unrepresented taxpayers and tax credit claimants on low incomes, and has brought dividends to HMRC and the Exchequer in terms of an increased tax take and better compliance. More of the same will help free up HMRC’s resource and enable them to make the investments both in protecting the tax base, and in customer service, from which all taxpayers will ultimately benefit.”

(05-12-2013)

Contact: Robin Williamson (please use form at http://www.litrg.org.uk/ContactUs)