National Audit Office Slams HMRC

 In Customer Service

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a damming report on HMRC that says staff cutbacks have lead to poor customer service.

Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, HMRC cut staff in personal tax from 26,000 to 15,000, decreasing the cost of its personal tax operations by £257m.

The NAO said “the quality of service provided by HMRC for personal taxpayers collapsed in 2014-15 and the first seven months of 2015-16 when average call waiting times tripled”.

Desperately stretched HMRC staff only managed to handle 71% of call attempts in 2014-15. Waiting times reached 47 minutes for self assessment callers during the deadline week for paper returns in October 2015.

“Services have subsequently improved following the recruitment of additional staff but whether this performance is sustainable depends on HMRC achieving successful outcomes from its programme to make tax digital,” said the spending watchdog.

Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hiller MP told the Daily Telegraph: “It’s not good enough. Most taxpayers just want to pay the tax they owe on time.”

The NAO report can be downloaded here.

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