HMRC recently announced a major reorganisation that will see over 100 offices close and a larger emphasis placed on digital service.
Business owners have long complained about the HMRC’s out-of-date processes and poor customer service, and the move – which is expected to take place over the next five years – is aimed at tackling these issues.
Out with 137 nationwide offices and in with 10 regional centres. And it’s this move that will supposedly see offices ‘equipped with the digital infrastructure and training facilities needed to build a more highly-skilled workforce’.
The goal is to move largely digital, taking a big step away from the heavily offline service many small business owners have become accustomed to dealing with.
The modernisation process is set to include ‘investment in new online services, data analytics, new compliance techniques, new skills and new ways of working.’
However, according to AccountancyAge, roughly 43% of tax returns were filed offline last year, meaning there’s still a wish for traditional service.
Combating tax evasion
One of the primary goals of the re-shuffle is based around combating tax evasion.
With HMRC missing out on billions of pounds every year through tax avoidance and evasion, it is hoped that their newly trained ‘highly-skilled workforce’ will be better suited when it comes to bringing in more revenue from guilty parties.
However, with plenty of small businesses frequently overpaying on their taxes, we can only hope HMRC will also be better at paying what they owe!
Playing the field
Despite the digital switch and ‘modernisation’, HMRC insists its field force will remain as active as ever.
The self-employed and sole traders can still expect visits, even if the Public and Commercial Services Union has said it expects large numbers of HMRC employees to take redundancy after the reorganisation.
Will HMRC become easier to deal with? What has your experience been like in the past? Let us know in the comments below.