Following a report from the Treasury Select Committee that outlines a number of problems resulting in poor service for 2010, the tax chiefs at HM Revenue & Customs have issued an apology to taxpayers. The report has outlined problems for taxpayers trying to contact HMRC by telephone and post, with delays receiving a response and calls not being answered.
The chairman of HMRC, Mike Clasper has admitted that 2010 was a poor year, with the department being “overwhelmed”. He did promise that improvements have been put in place to ensure a better 2011. During an interview with Radio 5 Live he said:
“We are not happy with our performance in 2010. It simply wasn’t good enough on post and telephone and I’d like to take the opportunity to apologise to the people who had to take a long time to get through, or we didn’t get back to them quick enough with the post.”
However, during an interview with BBC Radio 4, a member of the Treasury Select Committee, George Mudie said:
“With the cuts of staff that are imminent and have been going on for five years we are hard pushed to see how they can improve this. Because of the cuts and rationalisation they have closed over 200 offices. That’s cut down on the face-to-face contact taxpayers can have with the department.”
The report has concluded that HMRC provided a dissatisfactory service to the public and tax professionals. Recommendations include improving the phone service, look to provide alternatives for the 0845 telephone numbers and to outline minimum standards for dealing with post “in a timely and accurate fashion”.
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