Bodies write to complain about HMRC’s ‘poor’ performance levels
Representatives of four of the UK’s leading accountancy bodies have written to HMRC about their “long-standing concerns over HMRC’s service levels”.
In a letter to Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General Customer Services, ICAEW, ICAS, CIOT and ATT said they “continue to be contacted by our members about poor HMRC service levels, and asking what we are doing about it”.
They said issues being raised most frequently included:
• self-assessment registrations and refunds,
• correspondence about VAT grouping and the option to tax,
• section 455 refunds,
• responses to technical queries, and
• corporation tax post and returns not processed. F
The letter stated: “Feedback also indicates that performance on the agent dedicated line appears to be erratic; there are sometimes very long waiting times, and calls can be cut off unexpectedly and promised call backs do not happen. Members are also concerned that helpline hours have not been restored to pre-pandemic levels.”
It added that the four bodies wanted to know when HMRC expects to be able to publish the following information:
1. Response to Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommendations 6a to c: The government agreed with all three of the PAC’s recommendations regarding HMRC’s customer service and recovery plans. Recommendations a and c had a target implementation date of June 2022. Please confirm that implementation is still on target, and that the Treasury Minute will be published shortly.
2. HMRC performance dashboard: The dashboard remains in development and only available via the online agent forum. There appears to be a delay to its progression and roll-out, including integrating it with the ‘Where’s My Reply’ service and making it widely available on gov.uk. Please confirm the expected timescales for the roll-out of the dashboard, and the plans and timescales for interaction with ‘Where’s My Reply’.
3. HMRC performance statistics: The latest information available is for the month of February 2022; we have not seen information for March or April 2022 or for the January to March 2022 quarter. When will these be published?
The letter concluded: “The professional bodies have all largely refrained from making public statements or media comment expressing concerns about HMRC’s performance standards. However, we are under considerable pressure from our members to demonstrate what we are doing about poor HMRC performance levels and to raise the issues with government, parliamentary committees and the media. The impact on individuals and businesses of these delays is considerable.”
The four signatories to the letter were John Cullinane, Director of Public Policy, Chartered Institute of Taxation; Frank Haskew, Head of Tax, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales; David Menzies, Director of Practice, ICAS; and Senga Prior, Chair, Technical Steering Group, Association of Taxation Technicians.