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HM Revenue and Customs: Handling telephone enquiries

“HMRC seems to be going in the right direction seeking strategic savings by reducing face to face interaction where the job can be done by telephone or online. However, this may not be much comfort if yours was one of the 43 per cent of calls which did not get an answer in 2008-09. HMRC needs to get telephone service standards up significantly if the transition to technology-enabled working is to have taxpayer support and deliver value for money.”

15 Jan 2010

HM Revenue & Customs’ estate private finance deal eight years on

“This major contract has been significantly affected, for the contractor Mapeley in particular, by the current economic climate. Mapeley benefited when the property market was expanding but the economic downturn has made the contract more onerous. HMRC must take a significantly more astute commercial approach if it is to deliver value for money for the taxpayer.”

3 Dec 2009

HM Revenue & Customs: Dealing with the tax obligations of older people

“Older people want to pay the right amount of tax but too many pay more than they need to because they do not claim allowances to which they are entitled and because of errors. By providing a more coherent service, HMRC could make substantial savings as the number of enquiries from older people about their tax affairs would reduce. A win-win situation for all.”

23 Oct 2009

HM Revenue and Customs 2008-09 Accounts: The Comptroller and Auditor General’s Standard Report

“These difficult economic times underline the fundamental importance of an efficient tax system. During the economic downturn, not only is there less tax to collect but the process of collecting that tax is more challenging. It is essential that HM Revenue and Customs actively manages tax debt and takes positive steps to clear processing work on hand so that taxpayers have certainty about their liabilities.”

20 Jul 2009

HM Revenue & Customs: Managing variations in workload

“Peaks in the workload of HM Revenue and Customs push up the cost of running the Department and reduce service quality. By changing the deadlines for tax returns and removing the need for some to be filled in, HMRC has already saved £7 million. By expanding take up of online services further, and helping people avoid unnecessary calls to contact centres, HMRC can reduce costs and provide a better, year-round service.”

15 May 2009

HM Revenue & Customs: Management of Tax Debt

“HMRC has improved the way it manages tax debt. But it has made limited progress in implementing some measures recommended by the Committee of Public Accounts in 2004 that would help it manage the growing level of debt in a more difficult economic climate. To manage tax debt more effectively, HMRC should link different debts owed on each tax by the same taxpayer and prioritise debts which are less likely to be paid without action by the Department.”

20 Nov 2008

HM Revenue & Customs: The Control and Facilitation of Imports

“HMRC has made it easier to import goods into the UK. The lack of information on compliance levels and the declining number of trader audits does however risk diluting the control the Department has over imports. It needs to develop ‘minimum’ levels for checks and trader audits, so that importers pay the right amount of tax and duty, and fully comply with the laws on prohibited and restricted goods.”

7 Nov 2008

HM Revenue & Customs’ transformation programme

“This is an ambitious programme of change with the potential to provide significant benefits in terms of tax yield and improvements for the Department’s customers. To succeed the Department must determine what it expects the programme to achieve with the resources available. It should also establish that the planned benefits are realistic and confirm each year that those achieved are robust.”

18 Jul 2008

HM Revenue & Customs 2007-08 Accounts

“Levels of tax credits error and fraud are significant when compared with the expenditure on the scheme. I have therefore qualified my opinion on the regularity of these payments. HMRC now has a target and has developed a strategy for reducing error and fraud. It will need to monitor how the measures it adopts are contributing to the achievement of the target and to respond effectively.”

“The Department must strike a balance between stopping criminals entering the VAT system and ensuring legitimate traders receive their VAT registrations without delay. Its performance in processing VAT registrations is now operating in line with targets. ”

Notes for Editors

14 Jul 2008