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Call on Government to invest to improve unacceptable HMRC service levels
by The Editor at 10:16 16/09/22 (News on Business)
The President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has called on the new UK Government to invest to improve HMRC’s 'unacceptable service' levels.
Susan Ball urged that action be taken to speed up the time taken to deal with taxpayer claims and queries and warned against premature cuts to HMRC staffing levels. She also called on the new Government to review the timetable for the implementation of Making Tax Digital and to be more ambitious in efforts to simplify the tax system.

Earlier this summer CIOT – along with the Association of Taxation Technicians, Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) and ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland) – wrote to HMRC warning that erratic service levels were impacting the finances and cash flow of businesses and individuals and hampering HMRC’s ability to adequately support taxpayers and businesses.

On specifics Susan Ball's message to the Government was:
Improving HMRC’s service levels
"The delays that advisers and taxpayers currently face are not acceptable. Our members tell us every day of the delays they face getting answers and action from HMRC – and the impact this is having on businesses and individuals.

“My message to the Prime Minister, to the Financial Secretary, and to any future Financial Secretary who might be appointed is this:

  • “Invest in HMRC to improve service levels.
  • “Commit to faster processing of claims and queries to help taxpayers at this perilous time.
  • “Don’t cut staff numbers anticipating savings from digitalisation unless and until those savings are released.”

In respect of digitalisation and the roll-out of Making Tax Digital
“The Government should review the Making Tax Digital programme so it really does deliver better service to taxpayers, not simply more burdens.

“While we support digitalisation… the current timetable for MTD for income tax is unrealistic. Taxpayer obligations are not yet clear, approved software is limited (and) the pilot is not yet up to speed.

“The Government should revisit and consider whether a more gradual, phased approach to MTD will ultimately deliver better results.”

Simplify the tax system
“A simple tax system, with clear rules and easy to navigate guidance, would lead to fewer mistakes by both taxpayers and the authorities.

“The new Government should launch a more ambitious simplification programme and resist the temptation to make major structural changes to the tax system until this is done”.

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