ICAS: HMRC service standards are the key concern of the Charter Stakeholder group

Bruce Cartwright CA, ICAS Chief Executive

THE INSTITUTE of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), and the other members of the HMRC Charter Stakeholder Group, has raised significant concerns about HMRC service levels, highlighted in the annual Charter report published today. 

The concerns raised come on the back of the results of a survey of agents and taxpayers in February 2023, which asked for input on HMRC’s performance against each Charter standard. 

Complaints about HMRC’s service levels dominated the feedback received: 

·        ‘Being responsive’ had the lowest score, with an average of just 2.3 out of 10.  

·        ‘Making things easy’ and ‘getting things right’ also scored very poorly, at 2.7 and 3.4.  

The other Charter standards address the context in which HMRC operates, and scores for these were higher, particularly around ‘mutual respect’ and ‘data security’, the latter scoring the highest average score in the survey of 6.5. 

Bruce Cartwright CA, ICAS Chief Executive, said: “Our members are increasingly telling us that they face severe delays and frustration when dealing with HMRC. Poor HMRC service levels are having a significant impact on taxpayers and businesses.  

“We and other professional bodies, continue to urge the government to invest more in HMRC to make sure they have enough resources to deliver at least an adequate service. Right now, this just isn’t the case. Without an increase in funding and resources, HMRC seems unable to improve their service and   support to taxpayers to acceptable levels. It looks to us like poor service levels are undermining HMRC’s ability to achieve its Charter Standards.”  

The Charter Stakeholder group is made up of representatives of the tax and accountancy community, including ICAS, ICAEW and the CIOT. It holds regular meetings with HMRC which discuss how the Charter is being reflected in taxpayer and agent experience of dealing with HMRC. It also gives formal input about how HMRC is performing against the standards in the Charter, for inclusion in the annual report.  

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