Government Responds To Professional Bodies Concerns

The Government has now offered a formal reply to an open letter addressed to the Chancellor regarding the standards of service at HMRC. The letter underscores the essential role of digital services in advancing the performance of HMRC ...

On the 10th of May 2023, Victoria Atkins MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, responded to an open letter dated the 1st of March 2023, composed by ten professional bodies and sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The letter requested the Chancellor consider improving HMRC's service standards in his imminent Budget statement scheduled for the 15th of March 2023. Unfortunately, the requested investment was not forthcoming.

"HMRC is looking to achieve savings of £700m by 2024/25!"

Victoria Atkins MP highlighted several factors that have significantly impacted HMRC's performance. These include a surprisingly high volume of specific repayment claims prompted by a handful of agents submitting thousands of claims, technological issues as HMRC conducted essential upgrades to bolster system security and resilience, and the diversion of some resources to urgent matters, such as providing assistance for the processing of Ukrainian visas.

Additionally, she mentioned that HMRC plans to invest in digital services over the next seven years, leading up to 2030. However, I'm not sure that the advantages of these digital services will be immediately evident. In the interim, agents and taxpayers will likely continue grappling with a subpar service.

Professional bodies such as the ICAEW have identified a series of gaps and issues with HMRC's digital services, which it has communicated to HMRC for discussion.

I'll keep you informed if HMRC says anything further.

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