HMRC is failing small business owners, with almost 100 per cent saying they have been kept waiting on the phone by the Revenue.
This is according to a new poll by Simply Business, in which 96 per cent of respondents said they had been forced to wait in a phone queue when calling the agency.
In June, the National Audit Office calculated that HMRC’s waiting times are costing small businesses some £97 million per year.
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Period of criticism for HMRC
The results come during a turbulent period for HMRC, which is facing criticisms over government proposals that some say could mean ‘four tax returns a year’.
The government’s Making Tax Digital plans, now in consultation, could see Self Assessment taxpayers forced to report to HMRC every three months. They will also force almost all taxpayers who currently file their returns on paper to move to a new online system.
Late payment fine hike
The proposals could also see a significant hike in fines for late filing and payment of their tax returns and bills, with the introduction of a new sliding scale for late payment that could hit 15 per cent of the total unpaid bill.
Responding to criticism of the new fine regime last month, an HMRC spokesperson said: “Our aim is for fewer people to pay the penalty at all. The proposed system will be simpler, fairer, and more proportionate.
“We are working closely with businesses and other taxpayers to refine these proposals.”
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